Bible Reading: John 11:5
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” [John 11:5 NIVUK]
In English grammar this verse is known as a simple sentence. It has a subject, Jesus; an object, Martha, her sister and Lazarus; and a verb, loved. He loved them, full stop!! There are no conditions attached to His love. There was no because, if, or when, attached to this statement of love for Martha, Mary and Lazarus. He simply loved them. He didn’t love them because they pleased Him, or had achieved a certain status, or even because they obeyed Him. He loved them because He loved them! It was totally unconditional.
Occasionally people have asked me to define love. It is not some sentimental or fanciful kind of feeling. Feelings and emotion maybe a consequence of love, but in themselves they are not love! In a true and happy marriage feelings and emotions may vary by the day, but love is still there. Love is so powerful that the devil has done everything that he can to twist its meaning. Perhaps this is the reason why so many people have mistaken the romanticism of Hollywood for love. Jesus gave a commandment that we should love one another [see John 13:34-35]. One does not respond to a commandment with an emotion, but a decision of the will. Love is a choice, and in the case of Jesus, He was not only love, but He also chose to love!
It gives me great confidence to know that what I have done, whether right or wrong, or what I have not done that I should have done, makes absolutely no difference to God’s love for me. He accepts me just as I am – warts and all! It is such love that makes me want to only do the things that please Him.
Writing to the Romans, Paul said, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” [Romans 5:8]. At the heart of true love is an attitude of selflessness, a willingness to sacrifice for others and a generous spirit. These were clearly attributes of Christ’s love, and for anyone who desires to be Christ-like, these attributes are the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart.
David Wilkerson was a street preacher in New York. A crowd had gathered that included a gang leader named Nicky Cruz. The preacher, recognised him, and said, “Nicky, Jesus loves you.” Nicky Cruz spat at the preacher and responded, “No one loves me!” That night he couldn’t sleep, overwhelmed by the fact that as bad as his life had been someone loved Him. He would kill and hurt people without mercy and be unmoved by what he had done, but the fact that Jesus loved him broke Nicky, and his life was changed forever!
Why do you think it is that the most popular Christian song of all time is “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?”
What does the love of God mean to you personally and how has it affected the way that you live your life?