Five years ago, I wrote a post called “Jesus demonstrates God’s love even towards those who reject him.” It was actually part of a short series that I did based on a meme that was going around the blogs about then. (Do you remember what blog memes were/are?) There are several passages in the Gospels that proclaim Jesus’ love either in word or deed. But, one passage in Mark in particular has always awed me. Mark writes about how Jesus loved someone who rejected him.
I was tagged by Bryan at “Charis Shalom” to post five things I dig about Jesus. It was very interesting thinking about five things, so I’m blogging through my list. The third “diggable” item on my list was that Jesus demonstrates God’s love even towards those who reject him.
Jesus is the supreme demonstration of God’s love toward us – not a mental, philosophical, idealistic kind of love, but an active, moving, giving, doing kind of love. Jesus’ love cannot be earned, cannot be repaid, cannot be lost, cannot be duplicated.
According to Jesus, the entire Hebrew Bible can be wrapped up in one two-fold command: Love God and love your neighbors. (Matt 22:38-39; Mark 12:30-31) According to Luke, a Jewish expert in the law agreed with Jesus. (Luke 10:25-28) James combined the two-fold command into one: If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8)
Love is important… love is necessary… love is central. And, God demonstrated his love for us in Christ’s death on our behalf. Notice, Christ did not die for us because we were righteous; he died for us while we were sinners. He did not die for us because of our worth; we were worthless without him. He did not die for us because we deserved it; we deserved only death, condemnation, and damnation. Christ died for us because he loved us.
There remains nothing in us to earn God’s love; and yet he loves us. In fact, though we cannot earn his love, we also cannot be separated from his love. God’s love for us through Christ is complete and eternal. This love is granted to us by grace; lavished on us despite ourselves.
But, what about those who reject Jesus? Sure, God loves those of us who are in Christ. He loves those who are new creations. He loves the sheep; but what about the goats?
There was once a rich, young man who came to Jesus. He asked Jesus a very important question: “Why must I do to have eternal life?” After a short conversation, Jesus told the man to sell everything he had and follow Jesus. The man refused because he had great riches. (Matt 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22) The man rejected Jesus in favor of the riches of this world.
Mark, as he often does, adds a piece of information that is not found in the other accounts. Mark said that Jesus loved the young man. (Mark 10:21) Jesus loved the man who rejected him. God-in-flesh, worth of glory and worship, loves someone who rejects him for land and money. This is the same God-Man who would look at those who were crucifying him and ask his father to forgive them.
I have chosen to follow Jesus. And, sometimes, I do. Hopefully, I follow him most of the time. But, honestly, like Peter, I often follow other voices that are not the voice of my father in heaven. During those times, I reject Jesus. And, Jesus loves me.
Sometimes, by my words and actions and attitudes, I deny and even attempt to separate myself from Jesus – again, much like Peter. And, Jesus loves me.
God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And he loves us, and loves us, and loves us, and loves us…
We can’t measure the fullness of Christ’s love for us – we will never reach the end, never find the boundary, never cross the line, never go too far, never find that last straw. (Eph 3:18-19) Nothing will separate us from Christ’s love – not Satan, not demons, not sin, not ourselves. (Rom 8:35-39)
When others forsake us, God loves us. When others disparage us, God loves us. When others hate us, God loves us. When others shame us, God loves us. When others forsake us, God loves us. When others are more holy, righteous, mature, godly, spiritual, efficient, practical, committed, involved, knowledgeable, smiling, Christian… God loves us – with an active, moving, giving, doing kind of love.
Whenever… Whatever… Wherever… God loves you!