On Sunday my pastor said: “We (the church) are the representatives of Jesus,” and in light of current events those words broke my heart. I didn’t plan to write this post, but as protesters mobbed outside my house, peacefully demanding change, my heartbreak continued. How did Jesus love people? As conduits of God’s love, are we conducting all aspects of our lives with love? Those questions, and what the Bible says about Jesus’ love are what we’re going to look at.
If you’ve taken the Bought at a Price class you’ve heard me say those words over and over but now…I’ve been brought to a standstill, examining my heart, examining how well I’m reflecting God to the world He’s placed me in.
As you’re reading, would you ask the Holy Spirit to help you examine your heart as well?
Would you join me in meditating on God’s Word, allowing it to change us, and then allowing it to shape how we reflect God’s love to the world around us?
Table of Contents
What Scripture Says About Jesus’ Love
A lady I’m proud to know said: “You only love as much as the person you love the least.” I’d like you to think about that quote as we look at how Jesus loved others. This won’t be a big exegetical dive into Scripture – just Scripture, what God’s shown me, and questions to stimulate your own thoughts.
For God so loved…
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
As I read John 3:1-16 I had to stop and think about birth, life, and the miraculous way it all happens. It’s birth that brought God’s Son to us and it was Jesus, giving up His life, that brought us life. It’s God’s love, breathed into mankind ever since He first breathed life into Adam, that brought us life and…
God’s every breath carries with it His great love for mankind.
When you and I chose Jesus, the Spirit of God breathed new life into our “dead” human form (John 3:8). This means we’re able to experience and become, conduits of God’s love.
Jesus’ love for you, for me, for the unloveable, for the sinners – this is what carried Him to the cross.
- How has God’s love changed you?
- Are you loving others with the same love, the love that died so you could have eternal life?
Reflecting God’s Love
When I think about how well I reflect God’s love, how well I reflect what Jesus did for me, I can’t help but beat myself up. Every single hateful word, mean look, unkind thought suddenly plodding through my brain like the protesters marching outside my house. But there’s a big difference between these two…
My thoughts want to beat me up, hurl accusatory words at me, and say nothing about change or growth.
The protesters – they were calm, speaking truth while smiling at their neighbor, and marching because they know change is needed.
So, instead of letting my memories conduct an unfruitful riot, I’m asking the Holy Spirit to show me how these memories can be used to change me, and how they can be used to make me a better reflection of all Jesus died to give me.
Would you join me?
How Did Jesus Love?
Before I jump into Bible verses that show how Jesus loved, I want to look at “a new command” and remind you of something very important. Jesus was fully human and depended on the same power source He gave us – the Holy Spirit.
I’m reminding you of this ‘cuz lets be honest – our sin nature isn’t prone to doing anything loving or good. Apart from God, selfish and self-loving is about the only thing our sin nature’s good at (or is that just me?). So…
Are you powered up and ready?
Let’s see what we can learn about loving others from the new command Jesus gave.
Commanded to Love
“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.” John 13:34-35
I love how one theologian described this command as “a Mt. Everest kind of command!” He’s right.
Try as we might, we’ll never be able to love how Jesus loved 24/7. We’ll have moments where we do and plenty more where we don’t. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make it our full-time goal to love others as Jesus loved us.
When you set the bar high you’ll reach it a lot more often than not trying it all. Plus, think of all the “love like Jesus” practice you’ll get in the process!
Now, let’s look at some Bible verses that show how Jesus loved others. They’ll help us understand how to put Jesus’ command to love into action.
Loving When There are Differences
“And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:17
When Jesus said this, He was sitting with a bunch of tax collectors and sinners and had just invited one of them to: “follow Me” (Mark 2:13-17).
Jesus spent a lot of time hanging out with people who weren’t like Him. And in this verse, He’s saying: “I came for people who don’t act like me or believe what I believe.”
He’s showing us that His love, the way we’re to love, involves loving people no matter what they believe or do.
How’s a person going to experience the TRUE love of God if we avoid them and won’t get to know them? If we’re not loving others as Jesus loved we also run the risk of becoming parasitical and judgemental, instead of loving.
How Jesus loved others involved sacrifice and pointing them to God. For us, the “how” in loving others means:
- putting their wellbeing above our own,
- giving them the best of ourselves, and
- sacrificing our wants for theirs.
It doesn’t mean we loosen up our obedience to God’s commands, it means we remain steadfast in obedience while loving how Jesus loves.
- Do you have friends who’re not Christians?
- If so, how are you loving them?
- If not, why not and what do you think Jesus would do?
- How should you respond?
My Sinful Love Story
Years ago, I was in a sinful relationship with a black man and His mom loved me to Jesus. She was like Jesus in the above verses.
Now, due to current events, let me clarify something. My relationship wasn’t sinful because the man was black. I love people of all races and in every color, I see people who all beautifully reflect God. My relationship was sinful because we were living together.
But Doris saw a sick young lady in need of a physician, welcomed me into her life, and never held back in telling us how God felt about us (and our living arrangements).
She welcomed me, a sinner, into her home and into her life because Doris loved others as Jesus did.
Every day I’m thankful for the love lessons my parents and Doris taught me because they all loved how Jesus loves.
How Jesus Loved Others
When Jesus loved others He looked into their heart and met their deepest need. He loved by healing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. How Jesus loved others left the hungry fed with more than just food.
Jesus loved by purposefully going where others wouldn’t go and then taking the time to talk with people who were ignored, not engaged.
The love Jesus had for others was a love that dined with sinners and saints, disciples, and betrayers.
Jesus’ love for others had no bounds and His love continues, boundless. This kind of love, loving as Jesus loves us, is the love Christians are to be known by.
This should be our beacon symbol, and our reflection to the world around us should fully convey the love of Jesus.
- What difference could be made if each of us committed to loving others like Jesus did? If we all started practicing Jesus style love with the same fervency we’d put into whatever we’re most passionate about?
- What kind of ripple effect would that have?
- How many lives would be changed?
Jesus’ Love and Current Events
Current events in America have caused me to shed many a tear (and I am not a crier). My heart’s broken, and I imagine how Jesus feels as lives are taken because of people’s hatred and fear.
But…it goes much deeper than this.
Jesus has been grieving our treatment of people who don’t look, talk, think, or act like us, for a very long time.
The hatred displayed in America is not something I’m proud to be identified with. I’m not proud that our white forefathers brought slaves into a country they claimed for God. Then, they wrote about “freedom for all people” while being slave owners themselves. My heart breaks that these same people, massacred and displaced the Indians who’s rightful home is the land we call home.
But the atrocities didn’t stop there.
They continued and the current hate crimes flow from the same hate-filled veins as prior generations.
But my heart also breaks because I know that apart from God, some degree of hate courses through my veins. It isn’t hate that most people would consider hate but…it’s just as bad.
It’s my tendency to think my viewpoint matters more than someone else’s, my tendency to judge based on a person’s disheveled outfit or scowling face, it’s selfishness when I have more than enough to give, it’s so many things beyond color, but none of them show Jesus’ love.
And I’m confident that hate of anything besides sin, isn’t something God wants any of His children doing.
God is love, and we’re to reflect Him to the world around us.
There are so many stories of how Jesus loved. So, so many.
Instead of writing about each one of them, I want to invite you to read and meditate on them. The below list of stories show how Jesus loved others and the questions were added to help stimulate thought and action.
Would you look for opportunities to love?
Listen for the Holy Spirit and be willing to lovingly and obediently, walk into others’ lives.
Until next time...
Think about how you’re reflecting God to the world around you.
One life at a time, you and I can lovingly change the world.
Bible Verses About Jesus Love
Jesus’ Love For the “Worst” in Society – Matthew 9:9-13
This is the same story as the one in Mark 2. Reading different gospel versions often adds more detail to the story. Do you notice any key differences? If so, what? How did Jesus love the people in this story? What lesson on love is in these verses?
How Jesus Loved His Betrayer – Matthew 26:47-50
How did Jesus love His betrayer? Look at other Bible verses showing how Jesus loved Judas to better answer this? How should we love people who have betrayed us?
Jesus’ Love for Those in Bondage – Mark 5:1-20
In verses 15 & 19, how did Jesus’ love end up changing this man? What lessons on love do you see in this story?
Jesus’ Love for Leaders – Mark 5:21-43
This is a story within a story (see below for the second story). How did Jesus love Jarius and based on your Bible knowledge, how had Jewish religious leaders usually treated Jesus? What does this teach you about Jesus’ love for people? Is there a leader in your life who God might be asking you to love how Jesus loved?
Loving the Sick, Avoided, & Outcast – Mark 5:24-34
In the midst of the above story, a woman tried to sneak in unnoticed. Consider looking up what her disease meant based on Jewish law and how it would have impacted her societal standing. Why would she have been trying to go unnoticed? Do you know people who might be avoided or outcast? Based on how Jesus loved this woman, how should Christians love others in similar situations?
How Jesus Loved Murderers & Criminals – Luke 23:34-43
How did Jesus love the people who crucified Him? How’d He love the criminal next to Him? In turn, how should we love criminals? Keep in mind, loving people who’ve broken the law or wronged you doesn’t make what they did right. People who break the law should be punished but they should also be forgiven and in a manner that reflects Jesus’ love for them.
Jesus’ Love for the Marginalized & Less-than – John 4:7-42
How does this story fit into our nation’s current race issues? Who could/does the Samaritan woman represent? What do you see Jesus doing? What are you, as a Christian, called to do?
Jesus’ Love Meets Destitute & Desperate – John 5:1-15
How did Jesus love this man? Who in your life needs this kind of love? How could you show them Jesus’ love while also meeting their physical need?
Loving Those Caught in Sin – John 8:1-11
This story is rich. Based on these verses, how does Jesus love? Are there people in your life who’re living in some form of sin? If so, how would Jesus show love to them? How are or should, you be loving them?