Today at soul space we consider Jesus’ role as a lover and a friend. And we do so in a magnificent setting as we sit in a semi-circle looking up at the carving of the Last Supper based on the late 15th century painting by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.
At the conclusion of the supper when Judas Iscariot had departed intent on betraying him Jesus told his remaining disciples, as little children, that he would be with them for only a short time, then would leave them. Jesus then said to His disciples “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Staying with the theme of “little children” one of the most familiar Christian songs in the world is “Jesus Loves Me.” Most of us can recall one or two verses, but did you know that the author of the song, Anna Bartlett Warner, originally wrote seven?
As I looked at some of the more obscure verses, I realized that every word of this innocent song of faith could and should apply to our lives as well. Listen:
Verse 1 Jesus loves me this I know For the Bible tells me so Little ones to Him belong They are weak but He is strong
The words “God will quiet us with his love” comes from Zephaniah Chapter 3 Verse 17. In this day when so many cry out for acceptance and love, God has already lavishly poured out his love upon us through Jesus Christ our Lord. He not only wants us to know His love, he wants us to know His peace.
Jesus said to his troubled disciples the night he was to be arrested, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”
Verse 2 Jesus loves me when I’m good When I do the things I should Jesus loves me when I’m bad Though it makes Him very sad
Sometimes we don’t feel loved, or we don’t feel worthy of love. Sin interferes with all our relationships, especially the one relationship we need to have with God. But when God forgives, there is no sin. Romans Chapter 8 Verse 1 tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Verse 3 Jesus loves me loves me still Though’ I’m very weak and ill That I might from sin be free Bled and died upon the tree
We turn here to Psalm 139 which says “You knit me together in my mother’s womb…you watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together… You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!”
Verse 4 Jesus loves me he who died Heaven’s gate to open wide He will wash away my sin Let His little child come in
Infants do not have to prove anything. They cannot make themselves loveable; they cannot make themselves worthy of love. Instead, parents place an immeasurable value on their lives. They choose to love them with all their hearts.
Little ones get their first glimpse of God’s love through the nurturing love of their parents. As they realize how valuable they are to Mom and Dad, they also begin to understand how valuable they are to God. As it says in 1 John, Chapter 3, Verse 1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
Verse 5 Jesus loves me He will stay Close beside me all the way Thou hast bled and died for me I will henceforth live for Thee
Even in the hardest circumstances when everything is going wrong, we can cry out to God to rescue us. What gives us the right and the confidence to cry out? It is the love of God. In Psalm 109, David went through a long list of complaints. Then he cried out, “Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with your love.”
When we are hurting, when life seems so unfair, know that Jesus loves you; He will be with you; you will find refuge in Him.
Verse 6 Jesus loves the children dear Children far away or near They are safe when in His care Every day and everywhere
Nothing in heaven or hell, nothing now or later, nothing that you or anyone else can do can make God not love you. GOD LOVES US! We have no better security than knowing that.
Verse 7 Jesus, take this heart of mine Make it pure and wholly Thine Thou has bled and died for me I will henceforth live for Thee
1 John Chapter 4 Verse 9-10 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
It is important in a world full of struggle and strife that we know peace, forgiveness, strength, value, refuge, and security. We need to know Jesus, and we need to commit ourselves to His love.
Moving on to Friendship an extract from a book says
“Friendship is always mutual. Whereas I can love someone without that love being reciprocated, perhaps in selfless love expressed in service of others, or unrequited love, or love of enemies as Jesus asks of us, friendship is more particular: it is shared with someone else who reciprocates it. You cannot be friends on your own, friendship is interactive, and requires time and effort to nurture with someone else.”
Jesus had many followers, some of whom he called friends. At times that friendship was an up and down relationship. One example of this was when Jesus and his closest friends were walking on a 30 mile journey and Jesus wanted to use the time away from crowds and distractions to help his friends grasp some hard truths about his impending suffering, being killed and then raised from death. But they didn’t understand what he was saying and didn’t dare ask, perhaps from fear of what his answer would involve. So instead they switched off and, while he spoke of suffering, they were having side arguments with each other about who was the greatest among them. If you have every felt yourself not listened to by a friend then you will have had a glimpse of how it felt for Jesus.
In nurturing your friendships try to avoid disagreements, conflicts and disputes and this can best be done by remembering “to love one another”. Try also to resist the temptation to boast, be envious, selfishly ambitious or false to the truth. Then, as lovers and friends of God, your wisdom and understanding will be reflected by the good life you lead, by the gentle good works you do and in all your relationships.