As Christ Loves The Church
There are many cliche’s that are used in the Christian world. Whether it is “Jesus loves you”, “Your body is a temple”, or “Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church”, we say these things without really thinking about what they really mean. Today I am going to take a look at what the love of Christ for the church really looked like and maybe spread just a little bit of light on the subject. So many times we say these cliche’s without knowing or thinking about what they really mean. It is my prayer that once you finish reading about the love of Christ for the church that you will have a new appreciation for His love for you and for those that are truly trying to love you.
3 Passages That Show the Love of Christ For the Church.
There are many passages that show the love of Christ for the church but I have chosen 3 passages that you may have not thought about before. They are ways people show their love that are not always given full credit for being loving. They are ways that speak volumes to me when I find someone doing it because they are natural reactions of love when they are expressed.
Jesus showed His love for the church at the last supper.
In the gospel of John chapter 13 we have an awesome example of the love of Christ for the church. Jesus is about to go to His death, but it says that “He loved them to the very end”. It was the desire of Jesus to spend his last hours with them showing them He loved them. How did He do this? He served them! He washed their feet. Now if it was you or me and we were about to sacrifice our lives for somebody we would be looking for some kind of recognition or acknowledgement of our great sacrifice that we were about to perform. At the very least we would be waiting for a thank you or some type of response that we were loved for doing it. However the way Jesus expressed His love for the church was to wash the feet of the disciples. Jesus was focused on expressing His love for the church rather than focused on how much the church was loving Him.
The love of Christ for the church was expressed in a simple exchange with one man.
The love of Christ for the church is not always expressed in ways we want to see. In Mark’s gospel chapter 10 we have the story of the rich young ruler. This man came up to Jesus with a sincere question. He wanted to know what He needed to do to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told Him to obey the law. The man said that He had obeyed the law. In verse 21 it says ” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him.” Then Jesus said something to him that he didn’t want to hear. Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him. Jesus loved this man enough to tell him something that He didn’t want to hear. Many of us today only allow people around us that will tell us what we want to hear and to affirm our own positions on things. Very rare is it for us to find someone that will actually love us enough to tell us what we don’t want to hear. Jesus loved this man enough to tell him what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. The book of proverbs puts it this way. “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” One of the ways that the love of Christ for the church is shown is when He speaks to us things we do not want to hear.
The love of Christ for the church is expressed every time we fail.
One of the most powerful passages where I see the love of Christ for the church being expressed is where Jesus specifically sought out Peter after Peter had denied Jesus. It is found in John’s gospel chapter 21. Peter and the other disciples were discouraged after the Lord’s death. Peter I am sure was suffering under the guilt and shame of his failure and decided to go fishing. What does Jesus do? He seeks Peter out and makes him breakfast. Jesus does what it takes to restore relationship. The love of Christ for the church is the type of love that seeks to restore relationship. In my life I have had Jesus do this with me many times. I would fail, fall down in the mud, and Jesus comes and picks me back up. He doesn’t wait for me to figure it out, instead He values the relationship He has with me enough to come to me. To me, this is true love. It is the type of love that doesn’t demand it’s own recognition but instead is more concerned about keeping the lines of communication open.
So the next time you hear somebody talking about loving someone as Christ loved the church, think about some of the ways that Jesus modeled that love in front of us.