The Power of Love

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

December 15, 2013

“The Power of Love”

Matthew 11:1-6

Are you the one? Are you the one? That was the question John the Baptist posed of Jesus.  Are you the one? Are you the Messiah; are you the one who I was preparing would come and destroy the evil one; who would preach the wrath of God and sinners would be blasted out of their complacency? That was the kind of question John was now asking as he was in prison. He still had the freedom to speak to his disciples, to know what was going on in the world around him. John wondered why there was not terror in Jesus’ words which was the sure device he thought would make people jump to the side of justice and purity. “Jesus was not preaching the wrath of God, the judgment of God, as I had,” thought John, “so is he the one?” There was no fire and no brimstone, so John asked his disciples to go and see – to check it out, to find out if this guy Jesus was truly the Messiah, the one who is coming in the name of the Lord, whether this Jesus was the one for whom John had prepared the way, or whether another was still coming?

John was confused because Jesus did not meet his expectations. It’s easy to understand.

Frederick Buechner says the following in his book, Peculiar Treasures: “Where John preached grim justice and pictured God as a steely-eyed thresher of grain, Jesus preached forgiving love and pictured God as the host at a marvelous party or a father who cannot bring, himself to throw his children out even when they spit in his eye. Where John said people had better save their skins before it was too late, Jesus said it was God who saved their skins, and even if you blew your whole bankroll on wild living like the Prodigal Son, it still wasn’t too late. Where John ate locusts and honey in the wilderness with the church crowd, Jesus ate what he felt like in Jerusalem with as sleazy a bunch as you could expect to find.”

It is very clear that the way John and Jesus approached ministry was very different.

 Look how Jesus answers the question: “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news preached to them.” 

Sometimes when we hear those familiar words from the prophet Isaiah we think Jesus is talking about the miracles he did.   I think he was talking about love.

That’s why Jesus came.    

Love came down at Christmas. That’s the title of a beautiful hymn in our hymnbook. 

            Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine;

            Love was born at Christmas; stars and angels gave the sign

 

One of the most familiar verses of scripture makes it clear: “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son.”  (John 3:16)

God sent Jesus because of love.  Jesus taught us how to love, and that’s what we are called to do.

            “They’ll know you are my followers if you have love for one another” (John 13:35)

Not the sweet sentimental, hearts and flowers kind that the world calls love, but the gracious, generous, sacrificial ,and unconditional love Paul talks about in I Corinthians 13:

Love that is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy or boast; it is not proud, not rude or self-seeking. Love that is not easily angered. Love that keeps no record of  wrongs. Love that does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love that never fails.

There’s power in that kind of love.   Jesus knew it; do we?

Prayer: O God, help us to see and believe that love is the most powerful force in all creation.  Help us to find ways to love one another as you have loved us.

We have that power.