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Monday, May 21, 2007

Love Like That - Jesus

I know that I'm doing a series called "Faith Like That." But today I want to share this with you guys. It's called "Love Like That." Today's thoughts are taken from Luke 23. I hope it is a blessing to you!
Imagine this scenario. You are a thief on the cross. You hate yourself for letting it get this far. If you had it to do all over you wouldn’t have stolen those jewels from the Roman ruler’s wife, not that you really felt sorry for it, but getting caught didn’t work out so well. You never even got to enjoy those jewels, just had them ripped from your hands as you were grabbed by those cruel Roman guards. Anyway, you're furious about your current predicament, and you start to curse and swear along with the thief on the other side of Jesus.
Jesus, now he was a different sort. He didn’t curse at all. You're hurting, but you're feeling nothing compared to the pain that this man must be suffering. He’s beaten beyond recognition. The soldiers were especially cruel to him, beating him and mocking him all the way to Calvary, and the way they nailed his arms to the cross. They jerked his shoulders clear out of socket. You want to know just what this man did to deserve such treatment.
You hear the Jewish leaders talking below, they laugh and sneer at Jesus. “Finally,” you hear them say, “We are through with this Jesus, this blasphemer. Can you believe that He said He came from God? Heresy, that’s what it is. No more of this healing on the Sabbath. No more of His loving Father speeches. God is a God of judgement. He is not a personal God.”
You don’t know what to think of this. You don’t know just who this man is, but surely He didn’t deserve this punishment just because He had proclaimed that God was a God of love. You start to feel a stirring deep in your soul, deep where a conscience used to be when you were a young child. Suddenly you know that this man truly is from God. You know that He is just what these leaders were saying that He wasn’t, but you're ashamed because you've been mocking him along with everyone else. You could almost cry with the shame that you feel.
You turn your attention back to the crowds. They are mocking him again saying, “You can work miracles, why don’t you save yourself? Bring yourself down from the cross.” They laugh and jeer, and your partner in crime starts in again.
“Yes, save us too, miracle worker! They say you can do anything!”
Finally, you've had enough. “Stop it, Stop it. Leave him alone.” You say. “Can’t you see he hasn’t done anything wrong.”
The crowds and your fellow thief are in shocked silence for a moment before they count you off as crazy and once again start their mocking, but Jesus turns to you with a love in His eyes like you've never seen. You want to turn away in shame from what you have done, but those eyes are like a magnet, drawing you to look at Him to look at the pain He’s suffering, and something tells you that He is doing this to pay for your crimes.
“Lord, please remember me when You come into Your kingdom,” you beg. You know there is a kingdom. You know what this man has said is true. You know you deserve the punishment you are bearing and the punishment that was sure to come after this life. The last thing you expected to here were Jesus’ next words.
“My son, today You will be with me in paradise.”
Me, you think, I don’t deserve paradise. Look at what I’ve done. Look at how I’ve lived my life. I’m so unworthy. Then you hear a voice deep within saying, “He has made you worthy.” Once again you bow your head in shame, but you thank God for the gift He has given you at the last possible moment.
What would it have been like to really be this man? To have lived a life of shame, completely disregarding others and completely disregarding God himself, yet at the last minutes of your life, you find salvation.

Now, I don't know about you, but I tend to love the lovable. It's much easier to show compassion to those who have always treated you with kindness. But when someone who has hurt you needs your help? Now that's tough. But that is just the kind of love that Jesus had. It's just the kind of love that he wants us to have (Luke 6:27.)
The thing about Jesus is that He never asked us to do anything that He was not able to do Himself. And I think by offering salvation to the thief on the cross, He gave us the ultimate example of loving our enemies.
I don't know about you, but I want a LOVE like that!



At 6:33 PM, Blogger Sista Cala said...

You are a gifted writer. I could just picture the whole scene as I read the post.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Susanne said...

Wow, Heather. What a great picture you painted from the theif's point of view. All pointing to the great love of Jesus towards him.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Amydeanne said...

wow... i'm speechless.. that was a great potrayal.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Irritable Mother said...

I have often been amazed at Jesus' love as I read through the gospels. I have asked, "How did He love like that???"
Yes. I want to love like that. I want to love my kids, my husband, the world - like that!

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Claire said...

great post! it made it all come alive. i love the story of the cross - it is such a demonstration of love.

blessings, claire


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