From the Pulpit: Following Christ’s Example of Love | Columnists

Today, I have in mind the value of loving others. I remember once in fourth grade when I was walking with my friend after school. I usually walked home after school. This time, as I was walking out of the school building, I saw my friend and started walking with him while we were talking. When it came time for me to turn in the direction I needed to go, I didn’t go in that direction but continued walking with my friend. I felt it would be rude not to walk with him a block or two before going to my house. We kept talking, and after a block or two, I said goodbye and turned around to walk back those few blocks, then went home. Why did I do this? I didn’t know it then, but thinking back, it was because of an inner loyalty I have to my friends, and I wanted to show God’s love to him that way. Jesus is the perfect example of love. He gave his disciples a new commandment: to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). He loved with compassion, with a servant’s heart and sacrificially.

Jesus loved with compassion as he served the multitudes. On one occasion, Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of ​​Galilee to get away from the crowds and be alone. But when they landed on the other side, the audience was waiting for them because they stepped on the ground and arrived first. Although Jesus was looking for a place to rest, the Bible says that “he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14b). Then in the evening he fed them five loaves and two fish. “And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides the women and the children” (Matthew 14:21). Out of compassion, he gave up making a retreat with his disciples, healed the sick there and performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand. His emotion of compassion urged him to love them. As we contemplate loving others, they will notice our compassion for them.

Jesus also loved with a servant’s heart. Jesus was with his disciples before the Passover feast. As no one had yet washed his feet, “He took off his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist” (John 13:4b). Then he washed the disciples’ feet. His servant’s heart moved him to love his followers in this way. After that, he told them to love each other in the same way: to serve each other in love with a servant’s heart. He sets the standard for us to love each other with a servant’s heart.

Jesus loved sacrificially. He came to earth to fulfill his mission to save the world through his death on the cross. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” His sacrifice on the cross was the most excellent demonstration of his love and his Father’s love for the world. His desire is that we be with him for eternity. Believing in Him as our Savior from sin ensures that their eternal home in heaven is safe. The example of Christ is the one we should follow. As he loved us with compassion, with a servant’s heart and sacrificially, we must love one another.

Pastor Robert B. Litzenberger III

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