What is the greatest love? It is Jesus’ death on the cross and his willingness to give up his life so that we might live more abundantly. He didn’t want us to go on in the same life we’d been living.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. -Jesus John 13:34
Ephesians 5:25-33 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
If we follow his humble example… let’s think of how that scenario plays out. If we are to live like he lived and love like he loved, that’s a tall order! Think how he didn’t condemn sinners – (the woman at the well, the woman the people wanted to stone, and others) but he didn’t party with them or hang out, he was working, living set apart*, he was there to deliver, to minister, not to participate, much like a physician administers a cure, Jesus did the same. He had the cure, the purest love, with no conditions, except that the person turn from sin. Even when they don’t, he still loves them and is there for them/us when they/we do. Yet he does condemn sin. Jesus doesn’t look down on the ‘scourge’ of the earth, as some might call the unfortunate or the lowliest people, he forgave their sins, and he healed them. He looked beyond their frailties and saw their potential. He looks beyond our faults and sees us as he created us, in his perfect image.
His image covers our faults, our sins, our shortcomings, our inabilities to do things the way others want, our inability to love deeply or to show love freely to others. He sees himself instead of us, because he sees us covered by his blood, not the way we look without his transformative power. That’s what his blood will do, it will wash away all our impurities. It’s good for us to remember that his blood washes our lives clean and makes us look as pure as he is. He loves all of us – the church. Have you thought of how unkempt the church is? Have you looked around and seen the mess many are in and how needy? They were during Jesus’ time also, just different people and different circumstances. So don’t think he has given us an impossible task, because with God all things are possible. He wouldn’t give us anything he couldn’t do. But in our human selves, apart from God, most of us fall short, and we must go back to his reminder, to love each other as he has loved us, with his greatest love. We must Allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions towards others, then we may also show the greatest love. But it is only by submitting weekly, daily, and hourly to the Holy Spirt and let him be in in control of our thoughts and attitude to share the greatest life and love.
*set apart: He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. – Hebrews 7:26