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The title of my message today is “A Greater Love”. It is inspired by
two things – our readings from
Romans 12:9-20 &
Philippians 2:3-11 and reflections on the life of Christ.
In today’s readings we saw that it called us to a different way of
living. It talked about things like really loving one another, hating
what is evil, honouring others about ourselves, being devoted to one
another, practicing hospitality, sharing with those who are in need,
being faithful in prayer, having the attitude of Christ and not losing
our spiritual fervour. It also touched on not practicing revenge and
blessing those who are our enemies.
As I thought about these things it inspired me to be a better man. It
inspired me to want to live at a higher level. A Kingdom level. As I
reflected on this I realised that I needed to look afresh at the life of
Christ. I needed to look at some of the things He did and how He
interact with others. I needed to look afresh at the way Jesus loved
others and the type of things He did.
So in this message I want to look at four things where Jesus showed
“a greater love”. A love that is not the usual example of this world,
but a love that stretches from eternity into our world and pierces the
darkness and makes our lives so much better.
1. Jesus’ love met the people’s most pressing needs
On many occasions in the Bible we see that Jesus met people’s most
basic pressing need when He interacted with them.
Luke 7:11-15 Jesus raised the widows only son. It says, “Soon
afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a
large crowd went along with him. As he approached the
town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his
mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with
her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her
and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the
coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to
you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus
gave him back to his mother.
Jesus fed the crowds – In
Mark 8:2 Jesus said, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been
with me for three days, and they don’t have anything to eat.” He then
multiplied the fishes and the loaves and they all had their fill.
Jesus healed the leaper in
Matthew 8:2-3. “A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and
said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said.
“Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”
In all three of these occasions Jesus met the people where they were
at and He met their most pressing need. The people needed food, the
mother needed her son as she would have no-one to look after her being a
widow or no way to make a living in that society, and the leper was
healed of his sickness that made him an outcast. Interestingly Jesus
would have become ceremonially defiled touching a coffin and a leper,
but He did it anyway.
For us as Christians we need to meet people’s basic needs in order to
enter their lives. That is why I am a part of the food outreach in
Merredin and we are doing food parcels here. I have given away 15 food
parcels this week (13 in Merredin and 2 here). It has allowed me to
enter in people’s lives, talk with them, pray for them, give them Bibles
and tracts, and share the Gospel. It has opened doors to people who
would not normally given me the time of day.
Like Jesus’ example, we need to meet people’s basic needs.
2. Jesus’ love had compassion and He wanted to be their Shepherd
On many occasions in the Gospels we see that Jesus was moved with
compassion. Jesus often saw the great crowds of people and He wanted to
be their shepherd.
Matthew 9:35-36 we see that Jesus went through all the towns and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the
kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw
the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and
helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 we read, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he
had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Mark 6:35 it says, “When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large
crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd. He felt sorry for the
people and started teaching them many things”.
There was something about a crowd that caused Jesus’ compassion to
rise up. He saw them as individual people who needed love, provision of
food, comfort, encouragement, healing and teaching. He wanted to be
In the Biblical context, shepherds had several different
responsibilities to their sheep and ultimately, to the owner of the
sheep. They kept a lookout for predators and protected the sheep from
attackers. They cared for wounded and sick sheep, nursing them back to
health. They rescued them if they became lost or trapped. They spent
enormous amounts of time with them guiding them to the places of
nourishment and rest. The result was a trust and relationship that kept
the sheep following the shepherd. The sheep were attuned to the
shepherd’s voice to the point that even if they were temporarily mixed
with another herd, at the call of the shepherd they would separate and
follow him. This is like what Jesus does for us.
As the years go by our hearts should become more like Christ where
His love and compassion flows through us. We too should want to care for
others in the Jesus way. We might not all be called to shepherd a
church, but I believe we are all called to look after those around us in
a compassionate and shepherding type of way that Jesus did.
3. Jesus’ love took Him out of His way for the one person
Jesus love meant that He would go on a long journey for the one
John 4:3-7 it talks about the woman at the well. Verse 3 starts
with, “So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had
to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well
was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the
well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw
water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” The story goes on
to say that Jesus told her everything she had ever done. The journey was
about 110 kilometres or two and a half days on foot. It would be like
walking to Merredin and back to reach one person!
Jesus also travelled a long way for the Demon possessed man in the
Mark 5:1-8 we also see, “They went across the lake to the region of
the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with
an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man
lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a
chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he
tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong
enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in
the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When
he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of
him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want
with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture
me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you
impure spirit!” The story goes on to say that the demons came out and
went into the pigs and the man was in his right mind again.
On both of these occasions Jesus travelled a long distance to reach
one person. The Bible tells us that the woman at the well ran and told
everyone about Jesus. Bible scholars tell us that she was the first
evangelist for the region. On the other hand, we don’t hear much more of
the demon possessed man who was healed. The last we heard Jesus told him
to go home to his family and tell of what the Lord had done.
As I read about Jesus example of going out of His was for people I
can’t help but ask, “Is there anyone in my life that Jesus needs me to
go out of my way for?” How about you? Is there anyone in your life too?
Like the lost coin and lost sheep in
Luke 15, they might need our help to be found.
4. Jesus’ love was a servant hearted sacrificial love
Mark 10:35-45 we see what servant hearted sacrificial love looks
like. “James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they
said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you
want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of
us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You
don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I
drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We
can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink
and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my
right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for
whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about
this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them
together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of
the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise
authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to
become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be
first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come
to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
John 13 we see the type of servant attitude that Jesus wants for His
followers. He stands during the middle of the Passover meal, takes
of His outer robes, readies a basin of water and washes the disciple’s
feet. Normally this would be the job of the host to designate a servant
to do this, but as it was a private gathering, there was no host and no
servant. Jesus took on this role as a voluntary humiliation to teach His
disciples a lesson about servant hood. Jesus doesn’t want leaders and
people who will lord it over people, He wants humble servants who will
take on any role. In the Luke version of this story it followed the
discussion on who would be the greatest and who would sit at Jesus’
right and left hand.
Philippians 2 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the attitude we should
have. The attitude of Christ.
He says in
Philippians 2:3-11 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking
to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ
Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he
made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made
in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled
himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore,
God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above
every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven
and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He
left the glories of heaven to live amongst us. He came to show us the
Father, to teach how to live and to die on the cross in our place. Jesus
humbled Himself to die on a Roman cross to pay the price for our sin.
The most humiliating way a person could die. In Jesus’ very own words,
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s
15:13) Jesus’ love was truly servant hearted and sacrificial.
In closing today let us remember the type of love that Jesus showed
when He lived amongst us.
Let us be inspired by Jesus’ life and the example He left us.
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSION Australia
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