See how he loves

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When the Jews saw Christ weep outside the tomb of Lazarus, this demonstration of his deep affection (compare Jn 11.3, 5) brought forth the declaration: "See how he loved him!" (Jn 11.36). His attitude and actions left the onlookers in no doubt concerning the feeling of Christ for his beloved friend, although their ignorance put it in the past tense. In similar fashion, when we consider the attitudes and actions of Christ toward any child of God, though the circumstances may be very different, we should be able to say, "See how he loves him!"

The love of Christ for his people is something that is worth considering, meditating on and dwelling upon. It does our souls good to remember how we have been and are being loved by the Saviour. The love of Christ is like the many faces of the diamond - we can turn it in the light of our experience to find the aspect which gleams most brightly at this moment. The demonstrations of Christ's love are like the cities of refuge: in times of trouble we flee to the nearest one to find a safe place. So consider these seed thoughts concerning the love of Christ, some few of the ways in which you, child of God, are loved by him, and take those which are most needful and precious. His love for you is a love . . .

  • . . . without beginning. You were loved in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1.4, compare Jn 17.23-24) - the affections of the triune God toward you were always bound up in Christ, who was your representative before time began. Christ has always had his eye upon you: his is an everlasting love (Jer 31.3).
  • . . . of the greatest degree. It is held up as an example of extravagant love: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (Jn 15.13).
  • . . . demonstrated as well as declared. Many speak of love who do not love. But the Lord not only tells me of his love - time and time again - but demonstrates it in countless ways. As John encouraged the saints, "let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1Jn 3.18), so Christ shows a love that is in deed and in truth.
  • . . . proven beyond all doubt. There are times when our confidence in Christ's love is shaken, but then we look to the cross, and can say with Paul, he "loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2.20). The cross - the great demonstration of love - banishes all possibility that he did not and does not love me.
  • . . . beyond human knowledge. It is a shoreless ocean, beggaring human insight and appreciation, a love that passes understanding (Eph 3.19), surpassing our best efforts to comprehend it - like quicksilver, you may get a few sparkling drops in your hand, but the gleaming lake lies outside your grasp.
  • . . . not repulsed by sin. Sin is repulsive and repugnant - the great obstacle that love must overcome (1Pt 4.8) - but the love of Christ does overcome it, and is not defeated by it. Rather, it is in the face of sin that love shows its true depth: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5.6-8).
  • . . . which pays the full redemption price for the beloved. To purchase those upon whom he had set his love, the Son paid all that was necessary. The Good Shepherd said, "I lay down my life for the sheep" (Jn 10.15). Blood must be spilt, a life must be given, and Christ held back nothing of himself in making atonement for those he loved.
  • . . . that maintains a prayerful interest. Too often love wanes - ardent protestations give way to lukewarm demonstrations. But not with Christ: he ever lives to make intercession for his people (Heb 7.25). Having died for us, he lives for us, and we are the constant objects of his perfect prayers. Have you stopped to consider: the risen Lord of Glory has prayed for you today? What a wonder!
  • . . . that secures us absolutely. Christ's love is the ground of our certainty, it is the crimson cord that binds us forever to God. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8.35-39). Having been so loved, it is not possible for you to cease being so loved.
  • . . . that will not ignore sin in us. Perhaps you have never considered what an act of love it is that the Lord cares about your sin: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Rev 3.19). A love that does not care about the foul presence of sin in its object is not really love: it would be like saying that you love someone, but are happy for them to live in filth.
  • . . . that really overcomes sin in us. There is a positive aspect, too. The love that addresses sin works holiness. That rebuking and chastening is a means of producing holiness in us: "For whom the LORD loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. . . . we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness" (Heb 12.6-10).
  • . . . of unfailing patience. This is indeed a love that suffers long (1Cor 13.7). Remember how often our Lord, with holy frustration, asked how long he must bear with his stumbling and ignorant and dull disciples. And how long did he bear with them? He bore with them all the way, and bears with us still. We find it all too easy for our love to be undermined by irritability, but Christ's love is not defeated by our failures and foolishnesses.
  • . . . that removes all our fears. We need fear nothing if so beloved. Even the day of judgement, so awesome and terrible, while not ceasing to be awesome and terrible in itself, ceases to be a cause of overwhelming terror for the one who exists in a relationship of deepening and appreciated love with God: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment" (1Jn 4.18).
  • . . . that never abandons us. We cry, "Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation" (Ps 27.9), calling upon the one who has given us that very promise (Dt 31.6-8, compare Heb 13.5). His is a love as strong as death (Song 8.6).
  • . . . that will endure forever. It is an everlasting love (Jer 31.3), stretching not only back into eternity past but forward into eternity future. We shall never cease to be loved by Christ. When Christ returns the dead in Christ shall rise first, and "then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1Thes 4.17). Forever with the Lord! Forever with the one who loved us and gave himself for us.
  • . . . held up as the pattern for all love worthy of the name. Christ's "new commandment" is "that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (Jn 13.34; 15.12). Time and time again we are pointed back to the love of Christ as the grand and enduring model of love, the perfect template of what love truly is (see, for example, 1Cor 13.4-8; Phil 2.1-8). It is how we know what love is: "By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brothers" (1Jn 3.16).
  • . . . that offers repeated reminders of its reality and substance. We find these reminders sown throughout the Scriptures and our own experience. However, perhaps pre-eminently, it is the Lord's supper which brings us back to the supreme demonstration of that love in his atoning death, carries us into the present expressions of that love in communion with the risen Christ by his Spirit, and points us forward to the consummation of that love when he returns: "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same manner he also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till he comes" (1Cor 11.23-26).

The Lord Christ wants us to consider his love. How often do you say, "Pause, my soul, adore and wonder, ask, 'Oh, why such love to me?'" Do you stop to consider, meditate and dwell upon the love Christ has for you as one of his sheep individually, one of his flock entirely?

To do so will increase our joy. What happiness there is in knowing that this is Christ's disposition toward us! It will deepen our assurance. To know that we are so loved will be a powerful defence against the insinuations of the devil that we are unworthy (we know we are, but that has not stopped Jesus loving us) and the undermining of our sense of enjoying peace with God. It will heighten our gratitude, for the more we see of the kindness and mercy of the Lord in so loving, the more we will be brought to humble amazement at his great goodness toward us. It will stir up love: to be so loved cannot but draw out our hearts toward the one who loves us so: "We love him because he first loved us" (1Jn 4.19). How can we not, when we see how he loved us, and how he loves us still?
Posted May 31, 2012 @ 4:56 AM by Jeremy Walker

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