What would your response be if I told you that you can love like Jesus? My guess is that many of you responded with a simple, “Nope. Not me.”
Maybe putting a few more words to it, you think, “I can’t love like Jesus. I mean. He was Jesus. I’m not Jesus. I’m just a sinner. I know what I’ve done. I know me!”
Who knows you better than you do? God.
You are right. You are a sinner. God goes one step further and calls you His enemy. The Apostle Paul writes that Jesus died for you while you were His enemy:
6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9 So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life? (Romans 5, CEB)
Notice the context of this passage. Yes, it speaks about you being a sinner and God’s enemy. However, it is also speaking about you being reconciled to God. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are reconciled.
Something happens. In Christ, you are made new! You are made new for a purpose too!
12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4, CEB)
God brings us together as the Church and says that we are to encourage and equip one another “to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.” We are to help one another love as Jesus loves.
34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13, CEB)
God’s goal is for us to fully image Christ, and Jesus calls us to love as He loves. In fact, it’s only as we love as Jesus loves that others know we follow Him.
Do you think Jesus would call us to do something we can’t do? I don’t either. You can love as Jesus loves. This does not happen in your own strength, but through the work of Jesus Christ, you are made new!
PS - Throughout the Lenten season, in our current series Path to Living Loved, we are journeying to see how God calls us to love as Jesus loves. Please consider joining us on Sunday mornings!