Loyal Love

cross-sunset

Luke 13:31-32 “At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.’ He replied, ‘Go tell that fox, I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’”

There were people in this part of Palestine reduced to raving lunatics by the demons who possessed them. No one else could help them, and Jesus had compassion on them. There were sick people who had spent all their money and visited all the doctors, but still they could find no relief from their pain. They had exhausted every possibility for a cure. Jesus was all that they had left. There were sinners who all their lives had been held in slavery by their fear of death. The super-pious teachings of the Pharisees offered them no hope. Only Jesus could bring them the word of forgiveness that could restore their faith. These were the people Jesus came to serve, and nothing could stop him from loving them, no matter what the personal cost to himself.

Is his love any different for you and me? Who are we but a collection of all the world’s various heartaches and problems? We are the bereaved and the addicted, the injured and the fearful, the misunderstood and the failed. We are no strangers to doctors and hospitals, failed relationships and troubled homes, lost dreams and lost respect. Every one of us shares the same sickness of sin, and we are sick with it to the point of death. The only solution, the ONLY SOLUTION, for you and for me is the same as it was for the sick and demon-possessed Jesus mentions: this same Jesus who will let nothing stop him from loving you, too.

Not even death. Jesus’ death was not just a tragic mistake, a horrible and unfortunate accident, one of those untimely and unexplained twists of fate that come at the worst of times. He came into our world fully aware that to love us would mean to die for us. That is why the Apostle John begins the portion of his book dealing with Jesus’ sufferings and death, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” Jesus himself said, “No greater love has anyone than this–that he lay down his life for his friends.” Even when the personal cost meant dying in payment for our sins, nothing could stop Jesus from loving you.

Do you remember what loyalty used to be? Undying, unwavering loyalty is a trait we see too rarely. Companies terminate their seasoned veterans because they can hire two whiz-bang college graduates for the price of one man with 25 years of experience. Then again, employees get tired of waiting for the next promotion and jump ship when a better offer comes along.

Nothing can stop Jesus from loving you, but that does not mean his loyalty was or is an easy thing. It cost him his life. He knew it would. You are worth it to him.

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