How to Love Like Jesus – Loving the Unlovely
Did you ever wonder how to love like Jesus? Corinne shows us that to love like Jesus is to treat even our enemies as if they were our honoured guests!
Do you have any thoughts about how to love like Jesus? Please feel free to contact us or add your comments below.
How to Love Like Jesus
It is easy to love the people who are close to us or kind to us, or the people who demonstrate noble character. But what about those who hate us? Those who persecute us?
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)
It might be natural to think of persecutors or enemies as those outside the walls of our local gathering. After all, we’d like to believe that we get along well with everyone with whom we meet with multiple times per week. But this is not always the case. For those of us in this situation, we can take comfort in knowing that our Lord experienced this as well, and no doubt His omniscience made it all the more saddening for Him.
Love Like Jesus – Commit Loving Acts of Service
Jesus had just finished up washing His disciples’ feet, and responding to Peter’s insistent request for Jesus to wash his whole body. “Jesus said to him, ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” (John 13:10-11) Then He tells us how we are to treat one another. ”If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15) We get the impression that this loving act of service was not spared on the one “who was to betray him.”
Jesus and Judas Iscariot
The evening continues. “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.’ So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13:21-29)
An Awkward Conversation
I had always thought that this exchange was a little awkward. Jesus had just clearly spelled out to them who the backstabber was, so when He asked Judas to go do what he was going to do, why were they looking at each other dumbfounded, some figuring Jesus was just asking him to go pick up the groceries? Part of an explanation might be that this exchange regarding the morsel of bread was done privately, and many did not hear that the bread was to be handed right to the betrayer. Another explanation makes this event even more mind-blowing, especially considering the circumstances.
In The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times, Ralph Gower writes how formal meals would have been practiced in Jesus’ day. “The most honoured guest was given a ‘token’ meal by the host. A piece of bread was dipped into the food and was used as a spoon. The ‘bread spoon’ and contents were put into the mouth of the favoured guest. This was known as the ‘morsel’ and was given by Jesus to Judas during the Last Supper…providing a final, loving appeal to them.”
Jesus Makes Judas the Guest of Honour
So I could instead imagine the scenario going something like this: Jesus announces that someone will betray Him, then solemnly continues on with dinner. A couple of the disciples sitting nearest to him whisper back and forth, “You ask him!” One of them asks who it’s going to be, and Jesus responds with something like, “My betrayer will be the one whom I am this minute going to make the Guest of Honour for this entire feast.” Their response: “um…ok?” The dumbfounded looks are beginning to make a bit more sense now.
But perhaps this, in conjunction with all of what might have seemed to the disciples as mere chitter-chatter of someone who they knew to be the Messiah, one who was profound in wisdom, yet often times seemed to them as a bit of a madman; this talk of turning the other cheek to one’s enemies, temples destroyed and raised again in three days, the favoured king riding into Jerusalem on a donkey of all creatures, all of those who had just greeted him with lavish praise and then this talk of a betrayer in the inner circle, who is now the Man of the Hour….all this talk was just…..too much…for them….to understand…right now.
Cue the dumbfounded stares.
And we can sympathize.
Love Like Jesus
So how are we to love others? How are we to love others who persecute us? How are we to love other Christians who persecute us? The answer: we do what seems grossly unnatural to the world, and perfectly sensible to our Lord and Saviour. We treat them as we would treat our most honoured guest. But ho-? Yes. But wha-? Yes. But wh-? Yes.
And this is how the world will know the truth and the love of our Saviour.
 Gower, Ralph. (1987). The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
She is a stay-at-home mom, who spends most of her time homeschooling their three children.
She attends Scottlea Gospel Chapel in St. Catharines, ON, where Stephen serves as an elder.
Images courtesy of:
Crowd – efes
The Last Supper – James Tissot
Bread – 445693
African Children ean254