How many of you are married? I and my wife are married for 19 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 morning, God has prompted me to bring this question to us. He is asking this morning, “Do You Love Me?
But before we try and find out our response to that question, let us first ask ourselves the question, “Does God Love me?”. As seasoned Christians, I am sure all of us know 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 we know that God did just that. We know that God made good this promise in John 3:16.
But, the question that I would like us to ask ourselves this morning is “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? 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?
But does Jesus expect anything from us? Whenever I am faced with this question, the scripture comes to my help. Let us turn to John15:16 “You did not chose me, I chose you to go and bear fruit, fruit that lasts”. This call from Jesus gives me no option, no choice , but to go and bear fruit, because He chose me. Are we willing to listen to this call?
Once the question of willingness is settled, comes the question of ability. Some of us say we are willing, but we question our own ability to go and bear fruit. For those, I would like to point out another of Jesus’ statement. John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” Jesus is surely telling us that if we believe in Him, we can do those things that He did. And He has promised us that He will always be with us, and He has left the Holy Spirit with us. Do we still suspect our ability to demonstrate our Love to Him through our actions?
Once the questions of willingness and ability are settled, the question of “How” comes up. Again here, He has shown us a perfect way of showing the full extent of one’s love. 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 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.”
Let us be reminded here that Jesus did this demonstration with the full knowledge of the authority he had. John 13:3 says “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God…” So Jesus’ demonstration of the “full extent of His love” came with the full knowledge of what authority He had. It was completely voluntary. He did it with the sole and intentional purpose of demonstrating His love towards His disciples and all others.
This morning, Jesus is asking us “Do you love me? “ and if we answer in the affirmative, He says, “show the full extent of your love” , when we ask “can we”?,He says, “surely you can, because I am with you.” Then we ask “How” and He says “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.”
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