Summary: There is no greater love than the love Jesus gives us. There is no greater peace in our hearts when we "know" this love.
No Greater Love
Our gospel lesson this morning starts out with Jesus words, continuing from our gospel lesson from last week. (John 15:1-8)
Does anyone remember the verse I asked you to keep with you this year?
“Abide in me as I abide in you.”
Jesus is talking about a love greater than most human beings are capable of.
How many of us as parents or grandparents would love the person who killed our only child or grandchild for no reason?
How many of us are willing to forgive someone who is stabbing them in the back as they are being stabbed?
Can you imagine someone hurting your feelings, and as they are speaking such words against you, you feel love for them instead of anger?
Imagine yourself in a situation where you have not spoken to someone – let’s say a relative or prior friend, for several years because of a fight or argument or disagreement you had.
Let’s take it a step further and say that in this altercation, you were completely right and justified, and the other person was completely wrong.
Now imagine loving that person who hurt you…let’s say they hurt you over and over and over again, no matter how much you tried to be nice to them.
This is the love of Jesus.
Jesus is capable of loving us even when we are angry at Him.
Jesus is capable of loving us even when we haven’t spoken to Him for several years.
Jesus is able to love us even when we hurt Him by denying His existence or taking His name in vain.
There is no greater love than this.
And the ONLY way we can have this kind of love is to allow Jesus to abide with us.
To allow Jesus to remain with us in our heart.
To allow Jesus to heal us from past wounds.
Let’s say your mother abandoned you as a little girl.
Jesus’ love for you is far greater than human love because Jesus will never abandon you.
And we know that God’s love for us is the same as Jesus’ love for us because Jesus was the mirror image of God.
Jesus was the reflection of God.
Our gospel lesson today begins with these words…
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: abide in my love.”
Jesus is saying “Remain in my love.” “Keep my love.”
I’ll say these words again, because they are so very important, I want to make sure everyone is listening…
The only way you can love your enemies, the only way you can love someone else who has deeply wounded you, is to abide in the love that Jesus gives you.
The only way you can love your brother or sister who has hurt you, is to allow Jesus’ love for you to completely take over your heart and leave no room for hatred of even the smallest degree.
You may say, “But I’m not ready to forgive the other person. They deserve to be hated for what they did.”
Jesus wants to give us His peace.
We can hold onto anger and bitterness as long as we want.
We can keep pent up emotions in our hearts and allow those feelings of anger to eat us alive.
We can suffer from ailments such as stomach ulcers, tension headaches, and eating disorders as long as we like.
Jesus gives us the opportunity to do that to ourselves.
Jesus allows us to hold a gun to our heads and pull the trigger.