Session Two - Follow Series
The last session ‘Jesus Knows’, explores what it means for God to know you inside and out with nothing hidden. It’s important to start there because as we walk through this session – Jesus Loves – it makes it so much more incredible.
All You Need Is Love…
Love is a big topic for Jesus. It’s what he always comes back to, and it seems like a point that the people of the time just weren’t getting. Love is the one point Jesus wants everyone to get, so much so that he gave it as a commandment:
“I give you a new commandment. Love one another just as I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world you are my disciples” – John 13:34-35
The bible gives us some real amazing stories that demonstrate Jesus’ love. Let’s have a look at some now.
Love Without Condemnation – John 8:2-11 (NLT)
When a woman is brought before Jesus, caught in the very act of sleeping with a man who is not her husband, Jesus does something that astounds those around him. By Jewish law this woman was meant to be stoned to death, and ‘being caught in the act’, there is no disputing her guilt. But those bringing her are trying to catch Jesus out. He had been preaching all about love, peace and forgiveness for sinners. What will he do; let her off the hook or keep the law?
“Let anyone of you who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
Jesus stoops to the ground and waits (knowing that none of them are sinless) until one by one they walk away and no one is left. Jesus walks over to the woman and says to her:
"Woman, where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” "No Lord.” She said. And Jesus said “Neither do I. Go and sin no more”
Love Like A Shepherd – Luke 15: 4-7 (NLT)
Like a what-now?! Jesus often spoke in parables, (which are stories with a meaning, like the tortoise and the hare), Jesus’ parables were stories that the people listening to could directly relate to, stories about their livelihood, their towns and their culture. Amazingly, 2000 years later they have lost none of their meaning. Check this one out:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.
When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Jesus was speaking to crowds made up of shepherds, farmers and stable boys. They knew the feeling of losing one sheep; of it wandering off or being snatched away by a predator. But to leave the whole mob and just search for one? Really?
What Jesus was really saying here was ‘when you wander off the path, when you stray and get lost, I will never stop searching for you.’ Jesus will not rest until he finds us, brings us home and, like the scripture says, throws a party! The truth is we all go off the path at some point in our lives. This might even be the first time you’re actually finding your way back again. Whatever the case, you can be positive of one thing; it is Jesus who brings you back. It is Jesus who searches for you, finds you and rejoices when you return. That’s how much he loves you!
Loves Us To Death – Romans 5: 7-8 (NRSV)
Have you ever heard someone say, “I love you to death”? Well when it comes to Jesus, he took that literally.
“Rarely will someone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Rarely does someone lay their life down – unless for someone they really love. These days it’s more likely to see people hurt the ones they love, whether they mean to or not. But to sacrifice your life for people who hurt you, who called for your death, who pierced your hands and feet with nails? For those who would reject your message or not even care? That’s a huge ask! Yet that’s exactly what Jesus did; he gave his life out of LOVE for every single person on the planet, not just those who believed in him.
Jesus doesn’t hold back until you or I are good enough or ‘holy enough’; his love is totally unconditional. What he said to his disciples 2000 years ago he says to us today:
“Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
Write down your thoughts about the following questions in a journal:
- There are many ways Jesus loves us, but of the three listed above, which one stands out to you?
- Despite the many ways Jesus loves, sometimes we just don't feel it. What could be some barriers preventing you from experiencing that love?
- What does it mean for you to hear that 'Jesus loves you'?
Tash Mierendorf & Pat Keady (c) 2014 Ignite Youth