"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
Love One Another
There are literally 100s of scriptures in the Bible that refer to love. We have instructions on how to love, commandments to love, the rewards of love and explanations of the meaning of love. Love is one of the most important requirements in our Christian walk. Simply stated, Jesus is love! In today’s writing, I want to share the Words of God as spoken through the Apostle Paul, the Disciple John, King Solomon in his beautiful poetry and Jesus the Christ in the gospels.
Ecclesiastes is a beautifully written book by King Solomon. It’s main topic is vanity, the futile emptiness of trying to be happy apart from God. In this book, King Solomon looks at life “under the sun,” which means from the human perspective. And in his wisdom, he declares that nothing can fill the God-shaped void in man’s life but God Himself. Discouragement, self-doubt, despair all disappear when we accept life every day as a daily gift from God! 3:1 and 8 says, 1. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven,” and 8, “A time to love, and a time to hate.” We are not to question God’s will for our lives. It was written before the beginning of time. It is not up to us to choose whether to love or hate based on our emotions. Love brings peace which is what has been promised to us. One of the definitions of hate is “Wish to avoid.” Another is, ”To loathe or despise.” God commands us to avoid sin and sinful thought. We should loathe and despise any thought or action that is offensive to God. We have a tendency to equate the word “hate” with our emotions. But this is not the meaning Solomon intended.
The four Gospels all tell the story of Jesus’ birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection, however each is written by a different author. Because the truth of Jesus’ life can never be changed, the writings of each author tell the same stories and words of Jesus. There are some differences in quoting Jesus’ exact words, but the meaning of His words is undeniably the Truth in all four Gospels.
Matthew 5: 42-48 gives instructions from Jesus on how to love and our rewards. “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Loving and blessing people who are unbelievers and even our enemies is difficult sometimes. But God loves the believer and the sinner. What right do we have to treat others differently? Weren’t we all non-believers before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior? We should show out lovingkindness to everyone. Afterall, what makes us more worthy of God’s love than a sinner? Matthew also gives us the Words of Jesus in 22:37-40. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (This means with our entire being, emphasis mine) This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” “The Law” is the law of Moses, established by God in the ten commandments. God established the commandments and each one is a command to love. The prophets foretold the consequences to be delivered by God for humanity’s lack of love and these consequences are very harsh. Yet because God loves us all, the prophets also declare that God will show His love to us, despite our disobedience and lack of love. God delivers on His promises, even to the disobedient.
Mark also writes Jesus’ words. 12:30-31 quotes Jesus. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” You should know that the first commandment spoken of in these words refers to the first four of the ten commandments. These are the Law concerning our love of God. The second commandment spoken of here refers to the last six of the ten commandments. These are the Law concerning our love of others.
In Luke, the author does not discuss this conversation of Jesus. That is, unless I am just unable to find it. If I am mistaken, please correct me. And, continue to love me.
John is my personal favorite writer in the entire Bible. This is probably because He writes with an emphasis on Jesus’ words concerning discipleship. I am honored to be a Disciple of Jesus our Christ, our Savior, Messiah and Redeemer! Every time I read the books written by John, I find myself more and more in love with Jesus! His words in John’s books provide me spectacular vision and make me crave the Holy Spirit in my life. John writes in 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In Galatians, Paul writes to the church about the fruits of the Spirit in 5:22-23. Love is one of those precious fruits. He further writes in verse 23, “Against such there is no law.” If we love with the love of Jesus, how can we possibly be wrong?!
And as my final scripture, I want to share 1 John, 16-18. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we may have eternal life. In all the world and in all creation there has never been a greater love. Let us spread the love around this wonderful world. Love one another. Say it, show it and live it every day of your life. Our vision at New Birth is, “Love like Him, live like Him, lead like Him.” I strive to be an example of this vision every day. Let Jesus be our example. If you ever wonder how do it, just read the Bible. Pray to our loving Father through His precious Son, Jesus Christ, and He will make it clear and He will make it possible. All you have to do is ask.
With ALL my love,
Maryanne Winder Lester 4/29/2010