The culture we live in tells us a story about love. It’s a story about passionate feelings, the drama of fiery relationships. Ultimately, it’s a story about our own ego. It’s the satisfaction of getting what we want, when we want it.
Our world runs on consumerism, so it’s not surprising that the vision of love it sells us is a self-centered one. But as friends of Jesus, we are invited to a much deeper story, one in which personal satisfaction takes a back seat to serving others.
Jesus points to this kind of love with the way that he lived, and the way that he died. He shows us what true love is when he disrupted his culture’s financial system, flipping over tables in the Temple marketplace. He shows us this alternative path when he called out the greed and hypocrisy of the religious leaders. He preaches a vision of hope for the poor. He invites us to embrace it for ourselves.
Above all, Jesus shows us what love looks like. We see it in the way he treated his closest friends, the original disciples. Jesus loved them in the way that God loves all of us. He laid down his life for them. He protected and cared for his friends, watching out for them rather than defending his own interests. Even when they weren’t ready to follow him, he was willing to die so that they could see the truth. No one has greater love than what Jesus showed us when he laid down his life for his friends.
Love isn’t a question of feelings. It’s about relationships of care and service. It’s about doing justice and caring for those who are most vulnerable. When we put the well-being of others before our own desires and passions, we demonstrate the love that Jesus teaches.
In a world that teaches us that love is about our own happiness and gratification, Jesus opens a window into an entirely different story. True love is about mercy and justice. It’s about service to others, even when that means hardship and suffering – or even death.
This isn’t the love of Hollywood movies. It’s not even romantic. But despite all the challenge and pain, this is the kind of love that heals the world.
What does real love look like? There’s only one way to find out. Are you ready?