“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/11/10): Demand #34 “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself and As Jesus Loved You”

Luke 10:29

But the man desired to justify himself, and said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Matthew 7:12

“Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“I don’t presume in the previous chapters to have solved all perplexities in the life of love. There are competing claims on our limited time and resources. There are hard choices about what to give up and what to keep. There are different interpretations of what is good for another person. I don’t mean that all of that becomes simple. What I do mean is this: Loving God sustains us through all the joy and pain and perplexity and uncertainty of what loving our neighbor should be. When the sacrifice is great, we remember that God’s grace is sufficient. When the fork in the road of love is unmarked, we remember with joy and love that his grace is sufficient. When we are distracted by the world and our hearts give way temporarily to selfishness and we are off the path, we remember that God alone can satisfy, and we repent and love his mercy and patience all the more (pg. 263-264).”

“[This] brings us to one final point in this chapter: the relationship between Jesus’ command that we love our neighbor as ourselves and his command that we love each other as he has loved us. Jesus’ death is both guilt-bearing and guidance-giving. It is a death that forgives sin and a death that models love. It is the purchase of our life from perishing and the pattern for a life of love. I close with this focus because of the seeming tension between the have love for one another” (John 13:35). “Love like mine is the badge of belonging to the new people that I am gathering.” But the essence of what love is—what we have unfolded earlier in this chapter—is not different from what Jesus  demands here. When Jesus died for us, he loved us as he loved himself. He perfectly fulfilled the command, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus loved himself perfectly in that he desired his happiness with perfectly holy desire. That is, he found his happiness from all eternity in his fellowship with his Father and in being one with the Father (John 10:30). When he laid down his life for us, he did not deny or discard that desire for his own infinite happiness in God; he expressed it. He pursued it.

When Jesus died he purchased for sinners like us everything needed for us to find our joy in God. Since our joy in God magnifies the worth of God, this is exactly what Jesus has delighted in for all eternity. Therefore, in dying for our joy in God he is dying to display and preserve his fullest joy in God’s glory. That glory is reflected in our blood-bought joy in God. Therefore, Jesus’ love is a perfect expression and fulfillment of the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So whether he says to us, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself, because on these two hang all the Law and the Prophets,” or whether he says, “Love one another as I have loved you so that all will know you are my disciples,” he is commanding essentially the same thing. It is a radical command. We must make our own passion for happiness the measure of our passion for the good of others. And we must make the measure of Jesus’ suffering and the perfection of his happiness in God the standard of our sacrifice and the focus of the joy we pursue for ourselves and others (pg. 266-268).”

*** Please feel free to check out the video for “Love” by Chris Tomlin in my Vodpod, a clear reminder of Jesus’ call for his followers to bring his love to the world.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on July 11, 2010 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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