Everybody needs somebody to love” goes the song by Blue Brothers. “Find me some one to love” cries out Queen the singer. “I want to dance with somebody who loves me”, croons Whitney Houston. Even the new generation of singers like Justin Bieber sings about some one to love. Closer home, Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar would have sung thousands of songs on the need to have some one to love. The new generation of Bollywood singers likes Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chouhan continue to sing on the same theme of love. There is a virtually no movie which is not centered around the theme of love. “Someone to love” is not just a rhetoric, it is a reality that we cannot escape.
How many of you are married? I and my wife are married for 20 years now. Of all the questions that get asked between a husband and wife, the question “Do You Love me?” must be the one that gets asked the most. But I better be careful about talking about my marriage. I have go back home you know, after all. So let me talk about another couple who were married for more than 20 years. The wife complained to the husband, “You don’t tell me that you love me, any more.” The husband replied. “Well. I told you I love you 20 years back, if that situation changes, I will let you know.”
Jokes apart, I am sure all of us must have been faced by this question one time or another. We might have been asked this question, or we might have asked this question. If not loudly, we might have asked this question in our mind.
This Christmas season, it is important that we face this question one more time. Does some one love us? Do we have some one we love? Knowing the limitation of time, this evening, I would like to restrict ourselves to love in just one relationship, the relationship between us and God.
So, let us start with the question “Does God Love me?”. For those of you who are seasoned Christians, who know our bibles well, I am sure that this is purely a rhetorical question. There is only one answer to that question. God’s love to us is the undeniable, unquestionable and everlasting truth. He has loved us from the very beginning and He continues to love us despite what we do or how we do not deserve that love. God had made this very clear in multiple ways. One of the passages that sticks to my mind is found in Isaiah 43:1-4. I read from the Message translation of the Bible.
“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”
God is saying “ I paid a huge price for you… That is how much you mean to me. That is How much I love you.. I am willing to trade the entire creation just for you, I will sell off the whole world to get you back”. This is amazing. Just look at the passion in those words. Just feel the depth of God’s love in that pronouncement. Let me ask you, Husbands and wives, when is the last time you heard your spouse say some thing like that? Parents, when is the last time you heard your children say some thing like that? Children, when is the last time you heard your parents say some thing that powerful? God, the creator of the entire universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the almighty, the all powerful one is saying, “I will sell off the whole world to get you back, I will trade the entire creation just for you”.
And God did not stop at just saying this. He demonstrated his love for us. We know that God made good this promise in John 3:16. Christmas is nothing but the demonstration of God’s love for His people. The final demonstration. The final proof of God’s love for us. Through Jesus Christ, the new covenant was sealed. A new covenant of love. A covenant that cannot be broken any more. Paul puts it beautifully in Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So How about us? “Do we love God?” Again, as true blue Christians some of us might feel offended if we are asked this question. So let me rephrase it. How are we showing the world that we love God? Especially during this Christmas season? We know that God’s love is unconditional. There is no way we can “earn” this love except by accepting Jesus Christ as our saviour and Lord. Not that we “owe” any demonstrations to God. But because we love God, who loved us first when we were still sinners, are we encouraged to demonstrate that love by taking some action?
I would like us to turn our attention to John 21:15-19. This is known as the three fold redemption of Peter. Jesus asks him thrice, “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter confirms all the three times that he loves Him. I would like you to note that every time Peter confirms his love for the Master, Jesus asks him to “do some thing”. He says “ Feed my lambs”, “Shepherd my sheep” and “Feed my sheep”. To me this is very important. To me there is a call for action with our statement of love to God. If we say we love Jesus, are we prepared to “do some thing for Him”. Are we prepared to Feed His lambs and shepherd His sheep? A lot of times we are happy to receive the love and attention that God gives us. A lot of times, the maximum we go to is to do some thing for ourselves.
A mother was told by her children to stay in bed on her birthday. She was very happy, and lay there waiting to be served breakfast in bed, as the smell of bacon and eggs wafted up from the Kitchen. At last the children called her downstairs, where she found each of them sitting with a large plate of bacon and eggs. “As a birthday surprise”, one proudly explained, “we made our own breakfast”
Will parents be happy if the children tell them “I love you” and do nothing to show them the love? Will Children be happy if the parents just keep telling them “I love you” and then leave them to fend their lives for themselves? Will husbands and wives be happy if we just say “I love you” and then just relax? Marriage has a constant demand for demonstration of love through small and big actions. When we got our first car, I always used to open the door for my wife and wait for her to get in before getting into the car. But then some researchers told me, that a Husband opens the car door for a wife only under three conditions. 1) When the car is new, 2) When the wife is new, or 3) It is some one else’s wife. If we can show our love to earthly beings through those little actions, can our love towards God be differently demonstrated?
So the question boils down to how do we demonstrate our love to God? This Christmas season, how do we demonstrate that we are truly loved by God and that we love Him deeply through His son Jesus Christ. The first Christmas, was announced to the world by an angel, angel Gabriel. Jesus does not want the current Christmas to be announced to the world through angels. He has left the task to me and you through the Great Commission. He has left it to people who believe in Him. Let us look at just one of the ways that He demonstrated it out for us. Let us turn to John 13:1. The NIV version puts it this way “…Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” And he begins this demonstration of the love in full extent with an act of washing the feet of his disciples, an act of Servant Leadership. So Jesus showed the “full extent of His love” through Servant Leadership. How about you and me? How do we wish to demonstrate the love of Jesus to others? Do we look for special attention? Do we consider ourselves as part of this Christian club, that meets during Christmas? Do we wish to show the power of Christianity through authority? Well, Jesus does not want us to do so. He is very clear. He says in Matthew 20: 25-28 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This evening, God has two simple messages for us. For those if us who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, God is saying. I have offered you the covenant of everlasting love through my son Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and enjoy that love. The time is now!! For those of us who call Jesus Lord, he is telling us, “show the full extent of your love , by serving others”. “Just the way I demonstrated to you through my act on the final Passover meal evening.” To demonstrate our love for him by caring for others? By serving others. Can we listen to His call once again in prayer and with willing hearts? Please read along with me John 13: 13-17 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
I wish you all a very blessed and fruitful Christmas season!!
Let us Pray!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen