In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
How Jesus Loved People:
Let me start with the obvious, you’re not Jesus Christ. That being the case, I don’t recommend you visit your local place of worship and clean house with a whip. But I do believe there’s a most important insight found here concerning how you and I can love like Jesus did. That insight is…
Jesus loved God first.
“Hey, this series is supposed to be about loving people,” you might be saying to yourself.
Well, God is a Person!
And Jesus loves God far more than He loves other people. Here in this passage of scripture we see He loved God with such abandon, He had no regard for what other people thought of Him.
In case you might think Jesus lost His temper here, read closely, and you’ll notice this wasn’t something done on impulse. Making a whip out of cords takes time. He knew what He was going to do ahead of time, and without question, He knew what others would think of His actions.
But He expressed His passion for His God anyway.
We gain additional insight into Jesus’ view of people’s opinions just a few verses further into the same chapter. In verses 23-25 we learn how many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Jesus loved God first, and He loved Him with abandon. He gave no value to what others thought of Him with regard to His love for His God.
How to Love Like Jesus–Love God First
It’s hugely important to love God first! To love Him far above and beyond anyone else. This is the idea behind Jesus’ teaching: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Obviously Jesus taught over and over we are to love God and love people, and of course that includes the people in your family. What He’s saying in Luke 14, and what we see Jesus demonstrating when he cleanses the temple, is to love God first, far above anyone else. Jesus cares deeply about what God thinks, and what pleases Him. And He puts that above, far above, what other people think.
When I put God first, I’m blessed because I become focused on what’s truly important in life. When God slips out of first place, I quickly become mired down in the temporal. My heart and my soul and my mind are taken up with what’s happening at work, or on ESPN, or what’s on sale at Best Buy, or my next big project, or maintaining my toys, or whatever other temporal business presents itself. And a kind of inertia sets in. The more I move in the direction of the temporal, the further away I drift from God and the eternal. In my experience, when I find myself in this state of being, I’m usually brought back to intimacy with God through some sort of crisis. You can learn from experience, but it doesn’t have to be your own experience. Please, let me encourage you to learn from mine. Draw close to God before the trial comes. You’ll be so glad you did.
And there’s another, even more compelling reason to put God above all others in your life, and it has to do with shame. There have been times in my life when I was skulking around, embarrassed about my love for Christ. I lived in fear of what others might think of me. Man, I’m on dangerous ground when I live like that. Jesus said very plainly, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be disowned by Christ before the angels of God.
So I need to love God the same way Jesus did: far more than anyone else, with abandon, giving no value to what others think of me with regard to my love for God.
That’s how Jesus loved.
That’s how you can love like Jesus.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
-Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:37
[Image via: AldoZL Creative Commons]
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