- Parent Category: Bible Reference
- Category: What the Bible Teaches - R.A. TORREY
- Published on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 01:53
III. THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST TO MEN. WHO AMONG MEN DID JESUS LOVE? Ephesians 5:24 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."
First Proposition: Jesus Christ loved the Church.
The Church is loved by Christ in a particular sense and in a peculiar way.
While a philanthropist may love all humankind and yet will in a peculiar way love his own wife as he loves no other woman, so Christ has a peculiar love for the Church, His bride. We must be on our guard, in studying the various passages in the Bible which speak about the love of Christ to note whether they refer to His love in general (i.e., His love for all humankind) or His love in particular (i.e., His love for the Church, which is His body and His bride). Ephesians 5:2 — "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us as offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." Galatians 2:20 — "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Second Proposition: Jesus Christ loves individual believers.
Jesus Christ not only loves His church as a whole, but He loves each individual who believes in Him. John 13:1— "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."
Third Proposition: Jesus Christ "loved His own" which were in the world.
Not all men were "His own" when He was here upon earth, neither are all His own today.
QUESTION: Who are His own? John 17:2,9,12 — "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
ANSWER: Jesus Christ's own are those who God the Father has given Him. The proof that anyone belongs to this elect company is that he comes to Christ. Refer to John 6:37 — "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
This highly favored company, made up of those given to Christ by the Father, and who come to Christ, are objects of Christ's special love. He ministers to them in a special way (see context John 13:1), and He guards them so that not one of them perishes ( John 17:12, RV — "While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scriptures might be fulfilled;" 18:9 — "That the word might be fulfilled which he spake. Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one"). John 14:21 — "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
Fourth Proposition: Jesus Christ loves those who keep His commands.
Christ has an altogether special love for His obedient disciples; to them He manifests Himself differently than He does to the world. John 15:10 — "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."
Those who keep his commandments abide in his love. This does not mean, as sometimes interpreted, "abide in the consciousness of his love." It means rather what it says. There is a love of Christ out of which one steps by disobedience. Mark 3:35 — "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."
Whoever does the will of God stands in closest kinship to Christ. Such a person is to Him his brother and sister and mother. A man may love all men and yet he has a peculiar love for his own brother and his own sister, and above all, for his own mother. Jesus Christ has a love that combines all three in one for whoever does the will of God. John 15:9 — "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love." (See also verse 10.)
Jesus Christ's love to those who keep His commandments is just the same as His Father's love for Him. Matthew 9:13 — "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy; and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 19:10 — "For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Romans 5:6,8 — "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Fifth Proposition: Jesus Christ loves sinners — the lost, the ungodly.
Jesus Christ loves the vilest sinner as truly as He loves the purest saint, but He does not love the vilest sinner in the same way that He loves the purest saint. Toward the one He has pity, in the other He takes pleasure. There is an attraction in both cases. In the one case, it is need appealing to compassion; in the other case, it is beauty appealing to appreciation and delight. Christ pities the sinner and He delights in the saint. He loves them both. In the parable of the lost sheep, we see that the attraction of need is the greater. Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Sixth Proposition: Jesus Christ loves His enemies. John 19:25-27 — "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." 1 Corinthians 15:7 — "After that he was seen of James." (Compare to John 7:5 — "For neither did his brethren believe in him.") After his resurrection, Jesus seems to have shown himself to no unsaved man except his brother.
Seventh Proposition: Jesus Christ loved His own kindred.
Jesus had a peculiar interest in and love for those who were His kindred according to the flesh. Christianity does not ignore but sanctifies natural ties. Mark 10:13-16 — -"And they brought your children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."
Eighth Proposition: Jesus Christ loves children.
Children had a special attraction for Jesus, and were the objects of his special solicitude and care. Matthew 18:3,6,10 — "And said, Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
The man or woman who does not have a special love for children is not Christlike. John 11:5 — "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus." John 19:26 — "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!"
Ninth Proposition: Jesus Christ loved special individuals in a special way.
While Jesus loves all people with infinite love, and while he has a peculiar love for His Church as His body and bride, and while He has an individual love for each member of His body, and while He has a special love to all who keep His commands and do His Father's will, the more open any heart is to Him by faith and love, the more that person is the object of His special delight.
HOW THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST TO MEN MANIFESTS ITSELF
2 Corinthians 8:9, RV — "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich."
Tenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to men manifested itself in His becoming poor that we might become rich.
How great the riches He renounced and how great the poverty He assumed is seen in Philippians 2:6-8 — "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
How great the riches we obtain through His becoming poor we see in Romans 8:16-17 — "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Ephesians 5:2 — "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." Galatians 2:20 — "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." 1 John 3:16 — "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." John 15:13 — "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Eleventh Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for us manifests itself in His giving Himself, laying clown His life for us.
His is a self-sacrificing love. The death of Christ was not the only sacrifice He made, but the crowning one. His whole life was a sacrifice, from the manger to the cross. His becoming man at all was a sacrifice of immeasurable greatness and meaning ( Philippians 2:6-7). Luke 7:48 — "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Twelfth Proposition: The love of Jesus to the vilest sinner manifests itself in His forgiving us when we repent and believe on Him. Revelation 1:5 — "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Thirteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to us manifests itself in His washing (or loosing, RV) us from our sins in his own blood. Luke 15:4-7 — "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.'' Fourteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His lost sheep manifests itself (a) in His' going after them until He finds them, (b) in His rejoicing over the lost one found, (c) in His laying the lost one found on His own shoulders, and (d) in His bringing it safely home. John 10:4 — "When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." Isaiah 40:11 — "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
Fifteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His flock manifests itself in HIS tender care for each member of the flock. Matthew 8:17 — "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
Sixteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for men manifests itself in Him taking our infirmities and bearing our sicknesses. Matthew 14:14 "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."
Seventeenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for men manifests itself in HIS having compassion upon them and delivering them from their sicknesses. Matthew 15:32 — "Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way."
Eighteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to men manifests itself in His having compassion upon them and supplying their physical needs. (Compare Hebrews 13:8, RV — "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and forever.") Revelation 3:19, RV — "As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Nineteenth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to men manifests itself in His reproving them in order to bring them to repentance. John 14:18, RV — "I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you."
Twentieth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His disciples manifests itself in His not leaving them desolate. He Himself comes to them. John 11:33-36 — "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!"
Twenty-first Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ manifests itself in His weeping over the sorrow of HIS loved ones.
He knew that this sorrow was but for a moment, that it was founded upon a misapprehension, that in a few moments it would be changed for exceeding joy; but it was real, and as it was theirs it was His also. John 14:1 — "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."
Twenty-second Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His disciples manifested itself in his comforting them in their sorrow and anxiety.
This is the purpose of the entire fourteenth chapter of John. Note verses and 27 — "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me . . . Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27 — "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you," etc. John 15:11 — "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full."
Twenty-third Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His disciples manifests itself in His leaving them His own peace and His own joy. Mark 3:5, RV — "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored."
Twenty-fourth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to men manifests itself in His grieving over the hardening of their hearts.
The hardening of their hearts, as shown by the context, was shameful and outrageous. It aroused Christ's anger. But it also moved Him to grief. Oh that we had His feeling toward even the most outrageous sin, so that our anger at sinners would be mixed with our tears. Luke 22:32 — "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren." John 17:15 — "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."
Twenty-fifth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ toward His disciples and toward His enemies was manifested in His praying for them.
This is a most important manifestation of love. Luke 24:38-40 — "And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet." John 20:24-29 — "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came, the other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the prints of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
Twenty-sixth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ toward skeptics manifests itself in patient dealing with unreasonable, inexcusable, and stubborn doubts. Mark 16:7 — "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."
Twenty-seventh Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ toward a weak disciple was manifested by patient and tender dealing with his lapse into grievous sin and apostasy. Romans 8:37 — "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
Twenty-eighth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to those who believe in Him manifests itself in His giving them overwhelming victory in all their conflicts. John 19:26-27 — "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, Behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
Twenty-ninth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ manifests itself (a) in His forgetting HIS own awful agony in HIS sympathy for the sorrows of others, and (b ) by entrusting His own work to the one He loved.
It was to the disciple He loved that He entrusted His most sacred charge. John 13:1-5, RV — "Now, before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and goeth unto God, riseth from supper, and laying aside his garments; and he took a towel, and girded himself. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."
Thirtieth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to men manifested itself in His performing the lowliest and most menial service for them.
It is easy to perform the most menial services for those we love. A mother can perform the most humiliating and repulsive service for the baby she loves. But love, wondrous love, enables the only begotten of God, in the full consciousness "that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came forth from God, and goeth unto God," to arise from the table and with His own hands do menial service for His disciples. Judas was there, too, and the devil had already put it into his heart to betray Jesus (see verses 2, 10-11, RV). John 15:15 — "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Thirty-first Proposition: Jesus Christ's love for His friends manifests itself by His making known to them all things that the Father makes known to Him.
When you discover some great truth, what do you wish to do with it? Do you not wish to hurry away to your most-loved ones and make it known to them? So Jesus, in the fulness of His love for us, hastens to make known to us all that the Father makes known to Him. John 10:3 — "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out."
Thirty-second Proposition: Jesus' love to His own sheep manifests itself in His calling them by name.
This seems like a very small matter, but in that fact lies part of its significance. It is a tender illustration of the Savior's love for His own.
There was also something peculiar in the way He called His own by name. (Compare John 20:16.) John 17:12 — "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me, I have kept and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scriptures might be fulfilled." John 18:8-9, RV — "Jesus answered, I told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the word might be fulfilled which he spake. Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one. Romans 8:35-39 — "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Thirty-third Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His own manifests itself in His keeping them so that not one of them is lost. Acts 9:5 — "And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Matthew 25:37-40, 41-45 — "Then shall the righteous answer him, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart form me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was a hungered, and ye gave me not meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
Thirty-fourth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to HIS disciples manifests itself in His so thoroughly identifying Himself with them that He regards all that is done to the least of them as done to Himself. Ephesians 5:31-32 — "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Thirty-fifth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for the Church manifests itself in His leaving the Father to cleave to the church, so that they two shall be one flesh.
This is, indeed, a great mystery. John 14:21-23 — "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
Thirty-sixth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to those who keep His commandments manifests itself in His making Himself understood by them and making His abode with them. John 14:2 — "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Thirty-seventh Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for His disciples manifests itself in His going to prepare a place for us. John 14:3 — "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also."
Thirty-eighth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ to His disciple will manifest itself in His coming again for us, that we may no longer be separated each from the other.
Compare to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 — "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall he caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.") He comes Himself: "I come again." He sends no mere messenger.
He comes to receive us "unto Himself," not merely into heaven. It is as if He longs for us, longs to press us to His very soul. We long for Him, but not as he longs for us. Heaven is a lonely place to Him without us. Earth ought to be a lonely place to us without Him. Godet's comment on these words is worth repeating: "He presses him to His heart, so to speak, while bearing him away. There is an infinite tenderness in these last words. It is for Himself that He seems to rejoice in and look to this moment which will put an end to all separation'' (Godet's John, Vol. 2, p. 270, Am. Ed.). Ephesians 5:25-27 — "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Thirty-ninth Proposition: The love of Jesus Christ for the Church manifested itself in the past by His giving Himself for it, manifests itself in the present in His sanctifying and cleansing it with the washing of water by the word, and will manifest itself in the future by His presenting it to Himself "a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," but "holy and without blemish. '