It’s the familiar Bible verse visible on signs in sports stadiums all over America:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Do you love what God loves?
I’m not talking “love” in the abstract, where we claim to love some amorphous, nameless mass of humanity.
I‘m asking if we love the kinds of people Jesus loved? You know the ones I mean:
- the quick-tempered Peters
- the survivors of one failed relationship after another like the woman Jesus met at the well in Samaria
- the ones who work to enrich the oppressive state like Matthew the tax collector
- the Judas “church” people whose lives undermine and betray everything that is holy
The God who loves sent His Son to die on a torturous cross for miserable people like us.
Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor 6:11)
Social media in these days of Coronavirus
quarantine is a close encounter with
“Christians” who claim to love a Savior who sacrificed Himself for those they seem to despise. This should not be.
“Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” (I John 4:20)
Some church people tell me they don’t want to hear anymore about all the dying from COVID-19. Dismissing the threat to public health, some go about their lives, preferring to reject reality and focus solely on their own force field in the faith. As long as no plague comes near their dwelling, per Psalm 91, some don’t seem to care what happens around them.
This, beloved, is not the spirit of the crucified Christ who gave Himself as the once-for-all sinless sacrifice for man’s depravity. He sacrificed Himself for our benefit.
My neighbors include vulnerable people over age 80 as well as nurses, first responders, and people who put themselves at risk so the rest of us can have take-out meals, continually stocked shelves, full gas pumps and other things we have come to expect. Some are Christ followers; others are not.
Jesus has compassion on them all, even the dimwitted who insist the COVID-19 pandemic is an overblown hoax perpetrated by the media. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem, the seat of religious leadership that would condemn Him to death on a cross.
How many blood-bought believers are weeping in quarantine as fellow human beings are being brought low by a modern-day plague, so many living and dying alone, fearful, hopeless, faithless?
As Resurrection Sunday approaches let us remember that Jesus died for people, every kind of people, because He loves them. Love is the priority.
The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-32)