Our church is called “Restoration”. It was derived from what I believe God’s purpose is for us, as the prophet Isaiah says. (Isaiah 58:9-12).
“Repairers of the breach and restorers of ruined dwellings.”
In Latin, true religion’s “re-ligio” taskis to rebind what is torn apart by bad temperament, ignorance, and institutionalized evil.
We are led and grounded by Jesus Christ, “in whom all things can be held together…and in whom all things are reconciled.” (Colossians 1:17,20)
Last week, I said that Jesus was able to heal and rebuild people’s lives because He cared for them, and through caring about them, He was able to take care of them.
Matthew 22:37-39 – He’s asked about the greatest and most important commandment, to which he replied: “Love God” – totally – and to “Love one another in the same manner as we love ourselves.”
Later on (John 13:34), He amended this to “Love one another as I have loved you.”
John 13:35 – “By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.”
How we love defines our discipleship and relationship with Him.
In Tuesday’s Bible study, we read that love is not just theoretical; Love requires action.
A couple of weeks ago, I said:
“Our earthly actions (especially our religious ones) are only important in Kingdom matters when the primary motivation for them is love.”
I do think, however, that our understanding of Jesus’ love is sometimes skewed by our own needs and emotions.
I think maybe that’s why Jesus said, “A NEW commandment I give you… Love as I love.”
How did Jesus love? Let me share what I think.
- Jesus was attentive when He listened to people speak to Him – even His enemies!
- Because He was present in the moment, He could answer them thoughtfully and insightfully – with never a “knee-jerk” response.
- Because He was locked into what they were really saying, He could offer hope and a pathway to wholeness by offering them TRUTH.
- He was patient with His disciples even when they totally missed the point.
- Caring Confrontation – Jesus was confrontational, not passive.
- He challenged people to THINK before actingand act with love.
- Even when He confronted evil, it was with wisdom that had no malice.
- Generational thinking – He wanted the Kingdom of God expanded on earth, so He taught all who would listen to what the Father showed Him and imparted authority to His disciples even when they were obviously flawed.
- Example: Peter who denied Him 3x.
Asks: “Do you agape me? – (Love Me unconditionally)
Peter: “Yes, I philos you.” ( I love you as a friend)
- But, He took Peter’s incomplete understanding of love as a downpayment – knowing that the Holy Spirit would later come on him to transform his love.
- “If we give Jesus what we have at the moment, He will use it as if it were a complete and finished work.” – PR
- He restored Peter and then gave him authority and responsibility for the church.
- Example: Peter who denied Him 3x.
- Jesus celebrated people’s lives as gifts from God.
- He dismissed no one and saw all people as important.
- I think this is an area where we may need some improvement.
- We are impressed with people’s power, stature, wealth, charisma, looks, and accomplishments – to the point of overlooking and dismissing the flaws in their morality, civility, and basic decency.
- Jesus cared for the poor, sick, the lame (physically and emotionally), the old, and those who live on the margins of society. (the lepers)
- He cares for the “invisible masses who were seen as “throw-aways.”
- Jesus celebrated all lives and was grateful to God for them.
- Humor – I think it’s an injustice by the somber way Jesus has been portrayed.
- I believe that He possessed a great sense of humor and joy. Children saw Him this way.
- Many biblical scholars have noted the mirth of His answers within the context of the society He lived in.
- Elton Trueblood, Chaplin at Harvard Univ. – “Jesus approached people with joy – not heaviness.”
- Joy is the greatest evangelistic tool!
- Creativity – Jesus was sure to speak in the language of the people, avoiding the old stoic models, to explain spiritual principles.
- He used familiar contexts to have them see how spiritual principles were applicable to everyday life.
- His parables were improvisational stories of creative genius. They freed people to love by getting them to see and think “outside the box” of religion.
- Reverence – Certainly for the Father but also a deep respect for life, family, home, nature, women, and all people generally.
- He even used children as the proto-type of those who would enter heaven.
- Loyalty – Matthew 23:37 – We see Him weeping over the state of the people of Jerusalem – even as They were rejecting him.
- Forgiveness – He always taught and offered forgiveness and forbearance regardless of what people did.
- The ultimate example from the cross: “Father, forgive them…”
- Compassion – Jesus “cared” for people.
- Care – (Kara) – to lament – to grieve – to sorrow for
- Compassion – to enter into a person’s sorrow with them.
- A different meaning than the one we use today – The strong toward the weak.
- We usually feel uncomfortable entering someone’s pain unless or until we feel we can DO something to relieve it.
- Jesus just did it. He could be present for all those who were suffering.
I’ve found that the most important people in my life are those who will stand with me – without knowing what to do – Those who will stand with me in my powerlessness.
This is a friend who cares in the true, Jesus sense of the word.
To ”care” means to be Present for each other and willing to say,” I don’t know what to say or do – I don’t understand – but I’m here with you.”
“A friend is one who will stand in prayer with you as God transforms your pain.” – Mother Teresa.
There’s a lot of talk and teaching in the church that revolves around physical healing. People want the gift of healing and to be known as “Healers.” there’s nothing wrong with that.
I believe that God would have us first become “Carers”.
I think that’s because Curing without Caring would only feed our own narcissism and keep us preoccupied with quick changes.
It would make us unable to “enter in” and be present for one another.
We would stay distracted and impatient waiting for results, unwilling and unable to share each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2-12)— which is the meaning of compassion and is the true foundation of LOVE.
- God would have an increase in the church’s capacity to care for one another.
- To pray to be restored to His original vision.
- Become an expression of Jesus’ caring love and bring healing to others.
James 5:15-16(AMP) -” Confess to one another; your faults, your slips, your false steps, your offenses, and pray also for one another that YOU may be healed and restored to a spiritual tone of mind and heart. The earnest, heartfelt, and continued prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available, which is dynamic in its workings.”
Jesus could heal all who came to Him because He cared for all who came.