MDB 40: I Cor 13
When Paul wrote about love in 1 Corinthians 13, he was not trying to give people something nice to read at weddings (although it is nice to read at weddings). Instead, he was trying desperately to show a church full of self-centered Christians that there is a better way to live-not just on your wedding day, but every day for the rest of your life. The Love Chapter is not for lovers, then, but for all the loveless people in the church.
Here is another mistake that many of us make when we read 1 Corinthians 13: we assume that it is an encouraging, feel-good Bible passage full of happy thoughts about love. Actually, the passage is terrifying, because it sets a standard for love we could never meet.
There is an easy to prove this: simply start reading with verse 4 and insert your own name into the passage every time you see the word "love" Then it reads: "__________ is patient and kind; __________ does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. __________ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. __________ never fails."
It reads very differently, though, when we put Jesus in the picture. If 1 Corinthians 13 is a portrait of love, then it is really a sketch of our Savior: "Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails."
In other words, Jesus is everything that we are not. But this realization does not crush us; it liberates us, because the love of Jesus is so big that he even loves us. And because he loves us, he has promised to save us-to forgive us and change us so that we learn to love the way that he loves.