Say the word, “love” and what image forms in your mind? Young couples walking arm in arm on a secluded beach? A mother holding her newborn baby? An older couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary?
Jesus modeled true love when He walked on this earth. He called the little children to Himself, sat them on His lap, and cuddled them. He stopped a funeral procession, raised the dead boy and presented him back to his mother. He raised Peter’s mother from the sickbed. He cried as He gave Lazarus back alive to his two sisters. His last act from the cross was providing a home with John for His widowed mother.
Jesus was love personified, but He was not afraid to condemn the Pharisees for their hypocritical lifestyle, while bragging on the little widow who gave her last few pennies to God. He could be sarcastic, like when Judas betrayed him with a kiss. He rebuked Peter and the disciples frequently for their lack of faith. He drove the money-changers from the temple with a whip He made Himself, when He saw that His Father’s house of prayer had become a shopping mall, where people were ripped off and short-changed.
Jesus was not a lily-livered coward, who turned the other cheek and let the Romans and Jews kill Him, as He has frequently been portrayed in films. He was a real man who stood strong in the face of His enemies and deliberately let them take Him to the cross. Jesus gave Himself to die—they did not kill Him.
That was His destiny, His goal, the reason He came to earth—to die.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Love sent Jesus to the cross.