In case you haven’t caught the theme yet for this Week’s look at Love in Advent, let me clarify. Love for God is greater than just doing for those who do for you.
I was substituting in a classroom recently and a couple of kids were playing around and joking with one another. One said, “I’m moving, cause I’m not your friend. I’m just your friend for the Christmas season.” I responded by saying, “Like most friendship, you only want what you can get.” The student laughed and gave a joking, “Yes.” I know the students well and knew it was a joke. However, the sad thing is that many people in our world are only in relationships for what they can get out of them.
Jesus didn’t come just to call those who could give him something in return. Quite the opposite. Jesus often went to those who had nothing to give at all. He attracted the outcast, the sick, the lame, and those without means to support themselves.
You will notice this list doesn’t include the lazy or the unwilling. Many of these people were taken by friends, or due to their ailments would have had to leave earlier to make their way to a place to do the only thing that they could to survive. They were force to beg from others just to meet their basic needs of food. Many people saw them so often that they likely ignored them. These unwanted of society were simply a part of the local scene on the way to the market, or going to worship.
Like the blind man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15). Jesus reaches out to them to offer them hope, and to demonstrate love. Jesus asked the man at the pool, “Do you want to be healed.” This was not just a question of healing, but an offer to transform every part of this man’s life. If he is healed, he can become a part of the society around him. He could carry on his life and work and care for himself. The very basic things most of us take for granted. Jesus was offering a new start out of his tough circumstances.
Then there are those who were not even allowed to beg, but were totally pushed out of the normal places of society. Those with some diseases, such as leprosy were pushed away from all others. Fear of being infected caused these people to have to move out of town, and form small societies where they tried to care for one another. Only the few, and by most people’s views the crazy would go where they were. If these lepers had to travel they were to warn everyone to stay away.
Yet, one day ten of them had the courage to not merely call out for help from Jesus. They didn’t warn him, but asked him to heal them. While only one returned to thank Jesus, Jesus healed them all.
Early in His ministry Jesus met a leper, (Luke 5:12-16). The man came begging Jesus to help him, and Jesus touched the man. He touched an untouchable.
That is the true love of God, to love the unlovable. To reach into the lives of the untouchable and to transform what everyone else rejects into something wonderful.
Maybe you feel untouchable, undesirable, unwanted. Know that Jesus loved you enough to leave Heaven, and to die to give you eternal life and hope. You are loved. Reach out to God and be filled with His love for you, and let Him show you His great love.