Do We Understand the Love of Jesus?

“The love of Jesus.” 
This beautiful phrase has been hijacked of late by a world who doesn’t know Him at all. 

For those who are not students of scripture, 
the idea of Jesus has become synonymous with a 
flower-weaving hippie 
who believes in free love and universal salvation. 

This caricature is so opposite the real Jesus that it is blasphemous. Unfortunately, some of the most famous names teaching today help propagate a twisted understanding of a Jesus who never existed. This fantasy “Jesus” is wildly popular, because He is moldable, weak, and accepting of anything we want to do. He’s become a Jesus Action Figure, who can be posed in whatever position we like best. 

However, a careful reading of the four Gospels reveals another story. They give us glimpses of a God-man that no one understood, and His determined march toward the cross. The Jesus of scripture was the long-awaited Lion of Judah, who threw aside His royal robes to stomp Satan’s head and set prisoners free. The real Jesus was brutally honest with saint and sinner alike. He was painfully direct with those who needed it, yet went after the downtrodden and offered hope. He forgave anyone who asked, but then commanded them to stop sinning or something worse would happen. He shot down the self-righteous with well-placed zingers, and was not above name-calling when the situation demanded it. He rebuked His closest friends when they tried to get in the way of God’s plan for Him, and then made a point of forgiving them anyway.

When potential followers offered reasonable excuses, He let them walk away before He would compromise the truth. Status, wealth or threat could not alter His message: “I’ve come to give you real life, so repent and follow me.” When His popularity was at its peak, rather than capitalize on it, He turned to the crowd with a, “Really? You think you want to follow me? You’ll have to love me more than anything, deny yourself, and take up your cross every day.” He watched them slink away, already knowing that they only wanted His blessings, not Himself. Kind of like today. 

Sadly the phrase “the love of Jesus” has become confused with passivity and silence, neither of which ever characterized the Son of God who will one day judge the world. The only time He remained silent was when He chose to go to the cross. His message had been delivered; there was nothing left to say. His actions would be the final punctuation on His life’s message.        

God’s desire for every human being is to model the love of Jesus, but not a world-tainted redefinition of it. Before we can effectively extend real love, we have to check our own distorted perceptions and make certain we are worshiping the real Jesus. Anything else is idolatry, and any version of “love” that stems from it is false.


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