Seeing Jesus in “The Love Chapter”

| Mon, Sep 23, 2013 | Set 3 Week 39

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Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.—1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I believe this passage is mainly an exposition of what God calls Christians to be. In the verse just before the beginning of 1 Corinthians 13—or “the love chapter” as some call it—Paul says, “But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). So, our Fighter Verse for this week is mainly about what it means for Christians to pursue or “earnestly desire” love.

But the approach I want to take—an approach I believe will enable us to successfully pursue love—is by considering how God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus is our great example of love and our great empowerment for love. So, consider the following ways how God is love for us in Jesus.

Jesus is patient and kind. Out of the many examples that could be given, think about how patient and kind Jesus was towards his twelve disciples. Even though they bickered and judged and sought to be the greatest, Jesus patiently taught them and used them in great ways. And he does so for his disciples today.

Jesus does not envy or boast. He is not arrogant or rude. He is not irritable or resentful. In Psalm 73, Asaph admits that he was “envious of the arrogant when [he] saw the prosperity of the wicked” (v. 3). But when Jesus saw the wicked prosper and when he himself suffered unjustly, he did not deceive, revile, or threaten these evildoers, but instead prayed for them.

Jesus does not insist on his own way. Even though he was (and is!) God the Son and even though he had certain desires, his greatest desire was to do what pleased his Father. For example, he cried out in prayer, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). He did not insist that the cup be removed, and we praise Him with hearts of thankfulness for not doing so!

Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but instead he rejoices with the truth. After telling his disciples to rejoice in the truth that their names are written in heaven, Luke says, “In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will” (Luke 10:21). So, Jesus rejoices both in the truth itself and how the truth is understood.

Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. When he suffered, instead of giving up or lashing out, Jesus “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). Likewise, we can endure anything with faith and hope knowing that our heavenly Father will vindicate his own and will do what is right throughout all the earth.

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