We sacrifice for those we love. We would go hungry so the loved one can eat; we would deny ourselves luxury, so as to meet the needs of the loved one; we would persevere pain so the loved one can have a better life – love is a great motivator.
Love is the motive that sent Jesus to the cross. Its not a complicated story – humanity chose independence from God; without this central guide, we have billions of people defining their purpose for living in billions of different ways. Every choice has consequences, the more the choice is based only on what I need without considering the needs of others, the more we fight and hurt one another.
Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV): “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus preached that love is the greatest commandment, and was severely tested if he practiced what he preached. He was full of compassion and love for the suffering masses he preached to; and when some opposed him because his light and honesty revealed their lies and greed, he did not lift up a finger to hurt them.
Jesus words while he was being tortured on the cross, included this prayer note in Luke 23:34 (NIV): “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” At the cross, Jesus continued to love everyone, including those who were torturing him. The cross is the great evidence that Jesus practiced what he preached.
Lord God, teach us to love in this difficult world, Amen!