Jesus Was Love Personified

    We know that Jesus was resurrected. Before he was resurrected, he was crucified. There is no way to get to the resurrection without the crucifixion. Now the pain of crucifixion is difficult to imagine. For most people, the worst experience of our lives does not really compare to the agony of being crucified. We know that Jesus knew that he was going to be crucified. See Mt 16:21-22, 17:22-23, 20:17-19; Mk 8:31-33, 9:30-32, 10:32-34; Lk 9:22, 9:43-45, 18:31-34; Jn 12:23-25, 32-33. Then why did he enter Jerusalem? Why did he not run in the other direction? Any place in the world would have been safer for him. He then goes around Jerusalem picking fights with the elders who would then push for his execution. He was not wrong to expose the hypocrisy of the elders, but he was not really required to do so either. The only reasonable conclusion is that he fully accepted his crucifixion. Even though the agony of crucifixion is extreme, there was some greater good that would be served by his death. What good is this? The first good of the crucifixion is the forgiveness of our sins, which deserves its own section. The second good is the resurrection. What good is the resurrection, really? The resurrection is a lightning bolt in the heart of each of us that causes us to stand up and take notice of the words and actions of Jesus. At the center of what Jesus stood for is the Greatest Commandments:

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to them, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." (Mt 22:34-40; parallels in Mk 12:28-34; Lk 10:25-28; from Old Testament Dt 6:5, Lv 19:18)

In case you are worried that the second commandment is a bit weak, realize that Jesus strengthened it:

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (Jn 15:12-13)

    Jesus's actions are a total fulfillment of these commandments. In the end, he had two choices. One was to leave town and lead a normal life. The other was to be killed in one of the more horrible ways that man has devised. The first option is the option of selfishness, which would be easy to take. The other option is the option of love – true, complete, and self-giving love. This requires love like the world only rarely experiences. This is the love that Jesus personified. It is not enough to say that Jesus loved. It is more accurate to say that Jesus was Love. As we will come to see, it is more accurate still to say that Jesus is Love, but I have not yet shown that Jesus is present today. His love is such that he gave himself so that our sins may be forgiven, so that we may follow and love God the Father, and so that we may love each other.

Some Side Notes

    If you are reading my arguments carefully, you will have noticed that I have not yet demonstrated (using scripture) that a God exists that should be loved; but I used Jesus's love of the Father in my arguments. I am not assuming what I am trying to show, because if for some reason Jesus loved something that does not exist, it does not change the fact that he loved. Of course, if Jesus died for something that did not exist, it would be a sad travesty; but I have not yet shown that Christianity is not a sad travesty. I'll be getting to that shortly.

    By only focusing on one event, I may have given you the false impression that this is all that we know about the love of Jesus. This is not the case. Throughout the Gospels, the message of Jesus never gets far from the message of love. Rather than me going through examples, however, it is much better if you read the Gospels and experience them for yourself.

    The love of Jesus is one of the pieces of the puzzle that allows us to understand the truth of his divinity.

This page was last changed on 2011/08/28