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Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Reflections On The Love Revealed Of Jesus

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ

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Audio Bible | King James Version | King James Audio Bible KJV | John 13: 31-35

‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ – John 13:34

Love is perhaps the most fundamental and universal human experience, yet it can also be one of the more elusive and mysterious. It is a word that encompasses a wide range of meanings, from romantic passion to familial affection, from altruistic service to spiritual devotion. In its essence, love is an expression of our deepest longings for connection, belonging, and fulfilment.

For Christians, the teachings of Jesus Christ, the love revealed by Jesus Christ, are a life-spring of wisdom and inspiration. Jesus Christ’s message of love and compassion for all people, regardless of their social status or religious affiliation, challenged the prevailing norms of Jesus’ time and continues to inspire Christians around the world.

‘And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.’ – Mark 1:41

The New Testament is our primary source of insights into the nature of such divine love. In the Gospels, we see Jesus Christ demonstrating his love through his healings, teachings, and interactions with people from all walks of life. Jesus speaks of God’s love as unconditional and all-encompassing, calling his followers to love their neighbours as themselves and even their enemies.

The letters of the New Testament further develop the theological and ethical implications of the love revealed. Saint Paul, in particular, emphasizes the centrality of love in Christian theology and ethics, describing it as the greatest of all virtues and the defining characteristic of God’s nature. Saint Paul offers a vision of love that is sacrificial, selfless, and transformative, calling Christians to imitate Christ’s example in our own lives.

‘The soul that loves God has but one desire and that is to love more.’ – St. Robert Bellarmine

Christian mystics and spiritual leaders throughout the centuries have also offered profound insights into the nature of the love revealed by Jesus Christ. Mystical literature often speaks of love as the ultimate goal of human life, the means by which we can experience union with God and transcend the limitations of our ego. Mystics such as Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross have written extensively about their experiences of divine love and the transformative power it can have in our lives.

Through the New Testament and the writings of Christian mystics and leaders, we can discover how Jesus Christ revealed the true nature of love. By reflecting on these sources of wisdom and insight, we can deepen our understanding of Jesus’ love, God’s love, and the significance of love revealed for our lives today.

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | The Gospels

‘But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.’ – Luke 6:35

The Gospels of the New Testament provide us with a wealth of examples of Jesus Christ’s love for people. Through his healings, teachings, and interactions with others, Jesus Christ demonstrated his compassionate and selfless nature, and offered a powerful model for how we can live and love in the world.

One of the most striking aspects of Jesus Christ’s love was his willingness to heal and care for those who were suffering or marginalized. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, and welcomed outcasts and sinners into his company. Jesus’ love was not limited by social status, ethnicity, or religion, but extended to all who were in need of his mercy and grace.

In his teachings, Jesus Christ often used parables to illustrate the nature of God’s love and the call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. One of the most famous of these parables is the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man is beaten and left for dead on the side of the road, and it is a despised Samaritan who shows him compassion and care. This parable challenges us to see our fellow human beings not as strangers or enemies, but as fellow travelers in need of our help and support.

‘Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ – Luke 23:34

The Gospel writers portray Jesus Christ as the embodiment of divine love. In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ is described as the Word made flesh, who came into the world to reveal the love and truth of God to all people. Jesus’ miracles and teachings are signs of his divine nature, and Jesus’ love is described as sacrificial and transformative. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus offers a path to reconciliation and salvation for all who believe in him.

Through his healings, teachings, and interactions with others, Jesus showed us what it means to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus’ example challenges us to see the world with eyes of compassion and mercy, and to extend this love revealed and care to all those around us.

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Love In The Letters Of Saint Paul

‘Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.’ – 1 John 4:7

The New Testament epistles offer a rich and nuanced exploration of the concept of love, using a variety of Greek words, including agape, philia, and eros, to describe different aspects of love.

Agape, for example, is a selfless and sacrificial love that is central to Christian theology. It is a love that seeks the good of others, even at great personal cost. Philia, on the other hand, is a friendship love that emphasizes loyalty, shared values, and mutual support. Eros, while not as prominent in the New Testament, is a passionate and romantic love that is celebrated in the Song of Solomon.

In many of the letters, the centrality of love is emphasized, with Paul’s famous hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13 serving as a prime example. This passage is often read at weddings and other ceremonies, but its message extends far beyond romantic love. It speaks to the nature of divine love, and to the importance of love in our relationships with others. ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal,’ writes Saint Paul. ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.’

‘For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.’ – 2 Corinthians 5:14

In addition to 1 Corinthians, many of the letters explore the relationship between faith, hope, and love. In 1 Thessalonians, for example, Saint Paul writes: ‘We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.’ These three virtues are seen as interrelated, with faith providing the foundation for our trust in God, hope providing the vision for our future, and love providing the motivation for our actions in the present.

Through Saint Paul’s letters, we are challenged to live lives of love, characterized by selflessness, kindness, and compassion, and to see others not as enemies or strangers, but as fellow children of God in need of our care and support.

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Love In Christian Mysticism

‘Love seeks to give rather than to receive.’ – Thomas à Kempis

Christian mysticism is a tradition that emphasizes the direct experience of God’s love and presence. Mystics such as Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross offer unique perspectives on love, emphasizing the transformative power of encountering God’s love in a deep and personal way.

Julian of Norwich, a 14th Century English mystic, experienced a series of profound visions in which she encountered the love of God. In her book Revelations Of Divine Love, she writes of God’s overwhelming love, which is so vast and all-encompassing that it encompasses even our suffering and pain. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,’ she writes, trusting in the goodness and love of God even in the face of adversity.

‘The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.’ – Julian of Norwich

Teresa of Avila, a 16th Century Spanish mystic and writer, also emphasized the experience of divine love, which she saw as the highest goal of the spiritual life. In her book Interior Castle, she writes of the journey of the soul through the various stages of prayer and contemplation, culminating in union with God. This union, she says, is marked by an overwhelming experience of God’s love, which transforms us and draws us closer to God.

John of the Cross, another 16th Century Spanish mystic and poet, wrote extensively about the themes of love and union with God. His poems, such as ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’, speak of the process of spiritual purification and the eventual transformation of the soul into a vessel of divine love. John also emphasizes the importance of self-emptying and detachment in the spiritual life, recognizing that it is only by letting go of our own desires and egos that we can truly encounter God’s love.

‘In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.’ – St. John of the Cross

In addition to these themes of divine love, union with God, and self-emptying, Christian mysticism also emphasizes the connection between contemplation and love. In the mystical tradition, prayer and meditation are seen as means of encountering God’s love and deepening our relationship with God. As we enter into a state of contemplation, we open ourselves to the transformative power of God’s love, allowing it to penetrate every aspect of our being and shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Love In Christian Ethics

‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ – Matthew 5:44

Christian ethics is grounded in the love ethic that Jesus Christ taught and embodied in his life and teachings. This love ethic challenges and transforms traditional notions of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, calling us to a deeper and more radical form of love that extends to all people, regardless of race, gender, or social status.

Jesus’ love ethic is exemplified in his teachings on forgiveness, where Jesus encourages his followers to forgive not just seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:22). This radical forgiveness challenges our human tendency to seek revenge and retribution, and invites us to a deeper understanding of justice that is rooted in compassion and reconciliation.

‘And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ – Matthew 25:40

Christian social activism and movements have been inspired by the love revealed by Jesus, from the Civil Rights Movement to liberation theology. These movements have sought to transform systems of injustice and oppression, and to promote a vision of society that was based on love, equality, and justice for all. The teachings of Jesus on love and social justice were central to these movements, providing a framework for understanding and addressing issues of poverty, racism, and inequality.

One example of this is liberation theology, a movement that emerged in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. Liberation theologians sought to articulate a Christian vision of social justice that was grounded in the teachings of Jesus and the biblical prophets. They argued that God’s love was not only concerned with individual salvation, but also with the liberation of the oppressed and the transformation of unjust social structures.

‘But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?’ – 1 John 3:17

In addition to its transformative power in the realm of social activism, love also plays a critical role in building community and promoting reconciliation in the face of conflict and division. Jesus’ teachings on love and forgiveness provide a model for how we can work towards reconciliation in our own lives and communities. This involves acknowledging and repenting of our own sins and failures, and seeking to extend love and forgiveness to others, even in the face of hurt and betrayal.

Furthermore, the Christian concept of agape love, which is characterized by selflessness and sacrifice, is also central to building healthy and thriving communities. It encourages us to seek the well-being of others, to prioritize the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable, and to work towards the common good.

Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Conclusions

We have seen how Jesus Christ’s teachings and life exemplified a radical love that challenges our understanding of justice, mercy, and forgiveness. Jesus’ love ethic inspires us to work towards a more just and loving world, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.

In the Gospels, we have seen how Jesus Christ’s love for people was demonstrated in his healings, teachings, and interactions, and how Jesus revealed the nature of God’s love and the call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. In the Letters of Saint Paul, we have seen how the theological concepts of love revealed were explored, and how love was central to Paul’s theology, as seen in his hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13.

In Christian mysticism, we have seen how the experience of God’s love was emphasized, and how contemplation and self-emptying were seen as key to union with God. In Christian ethics, we have seen how Jesus Christ’s love revealed challenges traditional notions of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, and inspires social activism and movements that seek to transform systems of oppression.

As we reflect, we are reminded of the profound nature of Jesus Christ’s revelation of love. It is a love that is selfless, sacrificial, and all-encompassing. It is a love that calls us to action, to embody and share this love in our own lives and relationships. It is a love that inspires us to work towards a more just and loving world, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.