“[The] love of Christ… this love that surpasses knowledge”
(Ephesians 3:18-19, NIV)
(Ephesians 3:18-19, NIV)
Love expresses itself in a seemingly contradictory way. Parental love expresses itself in a wholesome and loving discipline, not in the indulgence of a child’s every whim. But not every child appreciates this expression of love. It is the same with the Lord’s children. In the gospels, three expressions of Christ’s love are recorded for our instruction. In each case it is stated that the Lord loved the person involved.
We learn first that Christ’s love corrects the one whom He loves. Speaking of the young ruler, Mark says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him” (10:21). And what did His love move Him to do? Jesus saw that the young man had many attractive qualities, but he lacked the greatest essential. He discerned the fatal flaw in the life of the ruler and dealt faithfully with him about it. The young man clinging to his great possessions, he sacrificed the greatest Possession. So will our divine Lord put His unerring finger on our fatal flaw, the thing that will rob us of His highest blessings? Shall we ask him to show us what that thing is?
Next we see that Christ’s love allows suffering by His loved ones. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister [Mary] and Lazarus” (John 11:5). Jesus spent more time in their home than in any other. Was He soft and indulgent with this favoured family? No, He was not. He did not intervene to prevent Lazarus from dying. He did not spare the sisters the heartbreak of seeing him slowly slip away. Rather, He waited two days before responding to their appeal for help. Did He not care? He cared so much that He permitted their suffering.
And what was His purpose? “So that you may believe” (John 11:15). The cultivation of faith was the object of the discipline. After their trail, they had an immeasurably greater Lord, and their suffering has been used to impart comfort and insight to succeeding generations of believers.
Last, Christ’s love cleanses us. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end… [He] began to wash his disciples’ feet” (John 13:1, 5). At that moment, He was on His way to cleanse their defiled souls with His blood, but He paused to give a matchless demonstration of the humility of love. No task is too menial for love. Jesus washed their feet with water, and then with blood from the basin of the cross.
[Edited, modified and modernized from Consider Him (1976) by J. Oswald Sanders]
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.