(Scripture references from NIV)
Jesus is the perfect example to us of how to live and love.
He reached out and saved a prostitute as she was about to be stoned for her sin. He did not condemn her or reject her; He just encouraged her to move forward living the right kind of life.
He reached out to a cheating tax collector and brought him into His inner circle. Although there are those that are not convinced that the Matthew that was one of the twelve disciples is the same that Jesus met and ate with. But the fact is Jesus did not condemn the hated tax collectors. He treated them with respect, encouraged them to change their dishonest way of life to doing things in an honest manner and saw their lives changed.
He reached out and touched people that were sick – some with leprosy – in order to heal them and make them whole. He cared for everyone, no matter how terrible their sickness was. He would touch them, pray for them, heal them and we have to believe that at least some of them became ardent followers.
He reached out and touched the dead and brought them back to life. Yes, these were people that were physically dead. But non-Christians are “dead” in their sin. Although Jesus died to wipe out all the sins of the world forevermore, people that do not choose to accept Jesus into their lives as their Savior will not enjoy eternity with Him – an eternity of peace, love, hope, joy. We all need His touch so that we can have life.
He could be so very gentle that little children would freely gather around him to be loved. When His disciples tried to keep the children away from him – I am sure assuming they would be a “bother” – He chastised them and called the children to his side to be loved and ministered to.
He could then enter the temple and seeing it defiled, throw over tables and run the cheaters out of the place. He did not want to see His Father’s house treated in such a disgusting way that honest people were being taken advantage of in such a vile way.
He told Peter how he was going to turn on Him – denying Him not once but three times in just one evening. Jesus had changed his name from Simon to Peter – which means “rock”. How could someone strong as a rock become so weak they can deny the person that has changed their life, has been their leader, their friend? Can you imagine the pain that caused Jesus? Knowing one of His closest disciples would deny Him?
He knew that Judas was going to betray Him by leading the soldiers to Him for betrayal. Judas had been one of the carefully chosen twelve apostles. He had been their treasurer and apparently had been skimming money out of their bank of money. So did greed overtake him to the point that he was willing to give up his leader, the man of perfection, for money? Can you imagine the pain that had to cause Jesus, knowing one of His inner circle was going to betray Him to the death?
The truth can hurt – it can hurt a lot.
Jesus hated all the sin that He saw all around Him – back then, just as today in our current world, sin was rampant. But, He still loved the sinners – enough to go to the cross and die for them all. He may have given Himself up long ago, but we are still covered by what He did. We are still forgiven, loved, accepted and destined for eternal life with God because of His sacrifice.
Do we follow His perfect example? I know that I do not.
We all have times that we are presented with an opportunity to show God’s love to someone in need – maybe they just need a simple physical touch, an easy word of encouragement, a short prayer. But like birds of a feather, we tend to flock together and care for our own, neglecting to care for others around us. We need to learn to reach out to those outside our own inner circle – take that uncomfortable route – and follow the perfect example of Jesus. Show His concern, His love.
We may not witness some kind of miracle at that moment – or ever. But that should not be the motive for what we do or say. Our reason should be to reflect Jesus in and through our lives – let His light shine!
1 John 4:12b “…if we love one another, God lives in us…”
Ephesians 5:2 “…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…”
Written by Karran Martin – March 2019