I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.
By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. John 13:34
This, I believe, is one of the greatest commandments given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, yet it's also the hardest. How can you love someone who is not loveable? How can you love someone who constantly pushes you away? How can you love someone who doesn't love you back? I sometimes wonder why God sets such a high precedence for His children, especially knowing that we're just but human beings who have feelings and emotions, that HE HIMSELF gave us! So this is one of the times when I think, God doesn't make sense!
But then each time I ask how I can love when its not warranted, I go back to the cross. Jesus did not have to go to the cross. He could have bailed out and left us to our own devices. How I know that it was no easy feat, is when He prayed in the garden of Gathsemane and asked God to take away this cup of suffering. Infact, the Word says his sweat became drops of blood as He prayed fervently. That must have been some fervency! For one's sweat to become drops of blood! Such agony! Yet the Word also says, The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much! At that point I believe He could have gotten up and walked away from this. He had that choice in the garden. I believe that's partly why He prayed and remained in prayer. I believe that's why we ought to pray over decisions before we make them. Prayer brings clarity and insight.
At this point, I'm sure His conversation with the Father went something like this:
Jesus: Father, I can't do this. It's too difficult a burden to carry.
Father: I now my Son. But remember, it's a matter of life and death.
Jesus: I understand that Father, but whose life, whose death?! I have lived a pure and faultless life before You. Why must I suffer for the rest of them. If anything, they should bear their own crosses. This has nothing to do with me!
Father: Jesus I see your agony, and your pain, but these people are helpless. They need you! You're the only one who can save them. The power in blood can destroy the power of the enemy that's in operation in their lives.
Jesus: Oh, how I wish everyone could live blameless and pure before You!
Father: And they can! Through your sinless life, their lives can be made pure. Through your humility, they can be exalted into heavenly places.
Jesus: Father please tell me why? Why would You go to great lengths for such a people? Am I not Your Son? Have I not been with You from the beginning of time? You know me, I love you! But this! This is more than I can bear!
Father (smiling): Its all for love my Son. Remember that we founded the heavens and the earth, and all that is in orbit on this precept. Love is the greatest! However, Jesus, you have a choice. Are you going to love them enough into sharing eternity with Us? Or are you going to leave them to thier own devices and watch from heaven while they perish?
Jesus: Father, You have put me in a difficult spot. I love these people as much as You do. In fact, the thought of them perishing is unfathomable! I have a choice to make I know. Either way, I know you will love me and accept me into Your Kingdom. But how can I leave these behind! (weeping) Oh Father, if it were possible for You to take away this cup of suffering from me. Is there no other way?
Father: Take a moment my son and see this race. You are right, whatever choice you make you will still be My Son and I will love you no matter what!
Jesus: Oh Father! Even if I leave them behind, You'll still love me?
Father: Yes! You are my only begotten Son and nothing can separate Us. No matter what you decide, or do you are assured of My love.
Jesus: (drops of blood coming from his brow) If You, the Creator and Omnipotent God can love me so, who am I to say no to them. I love them too no matter what they do. The decision has been made. It's not going to be easy I know, but I will do it..for love alone.
Father: (smiling with tears in His eyes) And I am with you all the way. Whenever it gets hard, remember that I am with you, and that it's all for love. Love covers a multitude of sin Jesus and I'm glad you have understood that concept.
Jesus: Will they understand though? I can't imagine going through all this for them to continue in thier sinful ways.
Father: Well, love is not always reciprocal. You just have to extend your love to them and leave the decision to them on whether they'll take it or not. I gave you a choice, so also you must do the same for them. Forced love does not fulfill. If anything, it breeds rebellion!
Jesus: You are right. I will extend my love to them, and it's up to them whether or not they take it. But it is my desire that they receive it. I am agonizing over them. My heart beats for them.
Father: Be strong and courageous. I am with you.You are my Son in whom I am well pleased, and I love you so!
Tall order right there if you ask me. That question again. How can you love someone who doesn't see your sacrifice and love you back? It sucks! And I bet that's how Jesus felt, but it's not about what I can get out of it. It's about doing it for love alone. If Jesus had made the choice not to go through with it, heaven help us all, we'd have been doomed.
The amazing thing about love though is that even if the person you're giving love to does not realize this at the time, eventually, they will come to the realization of this love. The word says that He loved us even while we were yet sinners. He knew us and loved us before we loved Him. So don't love and expect it to come back to you. Rather love and expect it to change the person's life for the better.
1 Corinthians 13 teaches of all the virtues and qualities of love, and 1 John teaches on how to love one another. Its not about me, but its for love alone.
Now Lord, I pray that You might teach me how to love, even those who are difficult to love. It is those people that you seek out. My assignment is to spread that love freely just as you did all those years ago.....for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5). In all that I do, give me peace and strength, that I do it as unto You. I admit it isn't easy, but You desire my willingness, not my ability. You will work through me to accomplish this. For I have this treasure in this earthen vessel, that the excellency of the power may be Yours and not mine. Your will my Father. Just as Jesus agonized in the garden, here I am agonizing with you. It's no easy feat. I need your strength. And I know You hear my prayer. Teach me now o God. In Jesus mighty name, the name that is given in the earth and all of heaven, that at this name every knee will bow, and every tongue confess the Kingship and Lordship of Jesus Christ. AMEN