Reading by Eric (was supposed to be read on Valentine's day)
A Lesson On Love
(John, the apostle, enters)
My name is John, son of Zebedee. When my brother James and I first became apostles, Jesus called us “the sons of thunder,” because we were easily angered and full of bluster. I remember early in our ministry we found some strangers driving out demons in the name of Jesus. We were indignant!
“Master, we saw a man driving out demons in Your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
But Jesus, in His usually calm manner, just reminded us that “whosoever is not against you is for you.”
A little while later, when we were about to go through a village on our way to Jerusalem, the town leaders sent word that we were not welcome there. Of course, James and I were enraged. We shouted, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”
How dare they reject the one true Messiah of God! But, again, Jesus calmly reminded us that the Messiah is the Saviour, not the destroyer.
So now you can see how we became known as the “Sons of Thunder.” It’s hard to imagine that after all these years I am now known as the apostle of love. I suppose this only goes to show you that love is a behaviour you can learn and not an emotion that you feel.
As I see it, love stands on two legs. If you remove either leg, love will not stand. The first leg is trust. I learned that if there is no trust in a relationship there is no love. Oddly, I learned about this in a row boat on the Sea of Galilee. We had left Jesus behind on the shore to mourn the loss of His cousin, John the Baptist. He sent us on ahead, so we began to row across the lake, when a storm came up suddenly. During the storm Jesus caught up to us. But instead of rowing a boat, Jesus was walking on the water!
Well, as you might suspect, we were all terrified, both by the storm and by this person walking on top of the waves. Some of us thought that this was a ghost. But Jesus calmed our fears the moment He spoke.
Now I suppose you’re going to ask, what does storms and row boats have to do with love? Well, of all people, it was a loud-mouth named Peter who taught me about love that day. When Peter confirmed that it was Jesus out there walking on water, he asked Jesus if he could do it too. Jesus agreed and Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk on water.
Mind you, when most people remember this story, they remember how Peter began to sink when he let the size of the waves intimidate him. But I remember that Peter was the only apostle in the boat to TRUST Jesus. Trust is one of the legs that love stands on and Peter was strong in trust. He was an example for all of us.
The other leg that love stands on is sacrifice. Oddly, my role model for sacrifice was a tax collector. His name was Matthew.
Now, I don’t know how much you know about tax collectors, but I can tell you from personal experience that tax collectors in Israel were very wealthy! When Matthew decided to follow Jesus, he gave up a huge fortune. And what Matthew taught me was that the more of this world you let go of, the tighter your grip on Jesus. No one loved Jesus more than Matthew because no one sacrificed more for Jesus.
So, there you have it, a lesson on love from the apostle of love. And now you know the truth. I get my reputation for love from merely copying the behaviour of two other people. But that was before I found an even better example of love in the person of Jesus Himself. He was the ultimate example of love standing on a foundation of trust and sacrifice. No human being has ever trusted the Father more and no one ever sacrificed more than Jesus Himself.
Love the Good News. Romans chapter 1 verse 16 to 17.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first
and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written. "But just so live by faith".
This was the verse that Martin Luther was convicted by. "The just shall live by faith" that is faith in the gospel! It is what brought about the whole Protestant Reformation.
This quote. The just shall live by faith. Is found in the Old Testament in the book of Habakkuk. Chapter 2 verse 4,,,, and the context is this. Use your imagination and try to picture it.
Habakkuk has questions for God, or a complaint if you will. And I think we can all relate. The question is basically this... Why oh Lord do you not hear and not answer my complaints, why do you not judge Judah? chapter 1 verse 2-4
He was looking around and he saw Judah filled with sin. Do something Lord!. , We look around and see world filled with sin.
Violence etc. And we say, Lord do something!
The Lord's answer was.... I will send Babylon to destroy Judah. 1 verse 5-11
Habakkuk has another question, and now another complaint. Why, or how can you allow Babylon A more sinful nation then us to judge us??? 1 verse 12-21
The Lord responds, Babylon will be judged as well. 2 verse 2-20
Habakkuk's final response,,,, I will trust the Lord! I will praise him! I will write a song, recounting all the deeds and the powerful things that the Lord has done throughout the generations! 3 verse 1-19
Ladies and gentlemen what is the purpose of my message, but this.
It is a Jesus came to earth born of a virgin. The sinless son of God, died on the cross and his blood paid the penalty for our sin. That he rose from the grave on the third day according to the Scriptures, proving himself to be the son of God. And that he will return again to judge the earth and set up is eternal Kingdom!
This is what I believe, this is what all who call themselves christians "believe"