Welcome again to Meditation Moments, and again our old time greeting: The Lord bless you and make you a blessing, and use your life for Him.
This time is regarding naturally the cross of Christ as we near Good Friday. In Luke 23, the 34th verse, we have these words, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
You know, it strikes me so forcibly that so many of the expressions from the cross were expressions of His wonderful love. He prayed for His enemies when He said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” in the hour of their triumph over Him, and of the shame and suffering which they delighted in showering on Him. Yet He poured out His love in prayer for them. I think that is a call to everyone who believes in the crucified Christ to do likewise.
He said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) I wonder if we really do that. Well, the law of the Master is the law for the disciple. The love of the crucified Jesus is the only rule for those who believe in Him.
Then that next expression of love: “Woman, behold thy son," and [to John], "Behold thy mother.” The very same love that cared for his enemies cared for his friends. Jesus knew just what the anguish must be in the heart of His widowed mother, and He committed her to the care of the beloved disciple John.
So it was love for the enemy and love for His own. Even so, we who are disciples of Christ must not only pray for our enemies, but prove our love to Him by loving those who are about us. I wonder if we do.
“Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This was love for the penitent thief. He had appealed to Christ’s mercy to remember him, and what an immediate answer he got to his appeal!
So whether it was the love that prays for enemies, or the love that cares for friends, or the love that rejoices over a penitent sinner that was being cast out by man, in all Christ proved the cross to be a cross of love: that the crucified one is the very embodiment of a love that passes all knowledge. (Ephesians 3:19)
With every thought of what we owe to that love of the cross, I pray that God will help us prove that the mind of the crucified Christ is our mind, that His love is not only what we trust in for ourselves, but what guides us in loving others and our loving intercourse with the world around about us.
I lived for some time once with the most unloving person. They were so perfect in their social graces and really never did a single thing that had anything of any rudeness in it, and read the Bible continually and were just perfect in church attendance. But their whole life was just like an icicle of coldness. There had been resentment there, and that resentment had turned into a lifelong grudge for a certain person. It just seemed to drain all the love out of that life and she never seemed to do anything in real love.
I think I told you the story once—and so often when I think of that person, it reminds me of them—of the little boy that was in the orphans’ home, and some very wealthy people came to take him because it had been decided that he could go with them.
They began to tell him of what he would have, what would be his possessions in their home, a beautiful and big house, and how someday he was going to have a real live pony, and how they would get him a watch that was his very own when he came to a teen age, and all the different things. But his little heart was hungry for just one thing. When they got all through with the possessions that they would give him and what they were going to do for him, he looked up with appealing eyes and he said, “Can you spare a little bit of loving?”
I used to think, as I had to abide in this home for a while, of this particular woman, “Oh, can’t you spare just a little bit of loving?”—Because I was going through a great trial myself at that time.
You know, love, Christian love, is so surely of God. Human love has its weaknesses, but Christian love is a divine, God-given thing. You will find that in Romans 5:5; and 1 Peter 3:8 says: “Finally, be you all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brethren.” A divine brotherly love will bind Christians in one solidly united family. Jude 1:21 says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.”
As long as Christians walk in love, they will enjoy fellowship with their heavenly Father. But Satan has got many tricks, and he tries so hard to draw a Christian outside the bounds of love, and he will do it if he possibly can.
A Christian always grows spiritually when he walks in love. If you want to grow spiritually, you just walk in love and continually try to practice the very love of Christ in your heart. But when a Christian starts to criticize, and loses his loving spirit, he stops growing, for he is no longer walking in love.
A Christian has to watch and pray. Not watch and criticize, but watch and pray! Satan is the author of this resentment and these grudges and this unloving spirit. Those who do wrong, beloved, they don’t need criticism; they need prayer and they need lots and lots of love. God’s Word says in Romans 12:10, “In love of the brethren, be tenderly affectioned one to another, in honor preferring one another.” (ASV)
Some things may stop, but let it not be true of love! It is the spark of life, and without it, Christianity is really dead. In Hebrews 10:24 God’s Word says, “Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.” And may I just add this: That love begets love.
One person walking in love will encourage others to do likewise. If you’ll only show love, someone else will catch the same spirit. It’s such a catching thing, the love of Christ in action, and it spreads from heart to heart.
God’s Word says in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all things, being fervent (that is warm-hearted) in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins.” Love doesn’t walk about talking about the mistakes of others. This scripture tells that love covers with a veil of silence the mistakes of others.
Think of the golden veil of silence about others’ faults, the love that covers the faults of the brethren. God bless you as you think of the cross this week and Good Friday approaches. These wonderful sentences of love of Jesus Christ that manifest such love from the cross.
God bless you. He is still on the throne. Amen.