Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB
You may recognize these words. They come from the Bible chapter that begins “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels but have not love…” I did not print the whole chapter in order to focus tightly on this portion.
In the apostle John’s first letter, he tells us that “God is love.” In the passage above, the apostle Paul describes what love is and does. In the passage from Hebrews that we read yesterday, the apostle Paul paints a picture of love in action of which this is an excerpt:
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Hebrews 12:2 NASB
In hanging on that bloody cross, Jesus was fulfilling 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the most dramatic and profound way. He could have called upon angels to deliver Him from the soldiers. He willingly endured the cross to show us how much He loves us…that we might similarly love each other. It’s not that we all have to be crucified for each other…but we don’t even seem to want to be inconvenienced for each other! If God is willing to forgive us of such sins against Him, how much more we should be willing to forgive others for their sins against us.
Jesus patiently endured the cross. He remained kind while upon it. He expressed no jealousy toward Barabbas who was spared crucifixion. On the cross, Jesus did not brag, act arrogantly, or act unbecomingly. He was seeking our good, not His own. He did not allow Himself to be provoked to anger. He did not hold His crucifixion against His crucifiers. And He kept on rejoicing with the truth.
He bore, He believed, He hoped, He endured. In short, He loved. He is love.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, You have lived out the great example of love. We could never love as much as You…and yet You command us to do so. Help us!…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.