The world bases its love on appearances (beauty, money, etc.) and the result is greed, pride, and vanity. Jesus taught and modeled something radically different. Jesus based his love on who you are, rather than what you have or what you have done. This love is authentic and the result is peace, contentment, and humility. This morning we will consider five (5) examples of Jesus demonstrating authentic love with: 1) Zacchaeus, 2) the woman at the well, 3) Nicodemus, 4) a blind beggar, and 5) children. Let us consider:
- Jesus knows who I am (Luke 19). Nobody liked Zacchaeus (maybe his dog if he had one). He was the chief tax-collector of Jericho who enriched himself by defrauding others. While the people saw a mean, greedy man working for the Roman government who deserved to be despised, Jesus saw a “Son of Abraham”. Jesus did not condone Zacchaeus’ actions, but saw someone who needs to live by faith and not fear (Rom 4:13, Gal 3:7). Jesus modeled authentic love by knowing that Zacchaeus was not defined by his greed, but by His need for grace.
- Jesus knows my worth (John 4). A woman at a 1st Century Samarian well at noon alone is either in trouble or looking for trouble. Normally, women come to the well in the morning as a group. While the people saw a sexually immoral woman who deserved to be ostracized, Jesus saw a “true worshipper who will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Jesus did not condone the woman’s life and actions, but saw someone who needs to see her true worth. Jesus modeled authentic love by knowing that this woman’s worth is not based on her body but her soul.
- Jesus knows I need a Savior (John 3). Nicodemus was a very respectable man. He was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews who taught the people God’s Law. While the people of Jerusalem saw Nicodemus as a righteous man deserving of respect, Jesus saw a man who needs to be born again. Jesus knew that Nicodemus was righteous before others, but right standing before God is the only thing that matters. Jesus modeled authentic love by not being enamored with Nicodemus’ credentials, but knowing that he needed a Savior.
- Jesus knows my purpose (John 9). The only thing the blind man could do was beg. While the people of Jerusalem saw a blind beggar who was deserving of their pity and Jesus’ disciples saw the blind man as a theological problem to be worked out, Jesus saw a man who would be used to display the works of God. Jesus healed him because this man was made for more than begging, he was created by a loving God to bring glory to God. Jesus modeled authentic love by seeing that God can work mightily through anyone, especially a humble blind beggar.
- Jesus loves and accepts me (Matt 19). Children should be seen and not heard, right? On Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem, He devoted much of His time teaching His disciples about the kingdom of God. During these valuable moments, people began to bring their children to be blessed by Jesus. While Jesus’ disciples saw the children as a nuisance and tried to keep them from Him, Jesus saw the children as a blessing and a joy. Jesus modeled authentic love by making time for everyone, even those who are deemed insignificant.
Jesus modeled authentic love. Who can you begin showing the love of Jesus with?