Loving Jesus Christ – PT.2

Loving Jesus Christ – PT.2

Editor’s Note: When Broadus was sixteen, while attending the meetings a friend came to him and quoted: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me. And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” “Can’ you take hold of that?” pleaded his friend. John did take hold of that and received Christ as His Lord and Savior. His life was never the same after that!

Simon Peter also gives us a lesson here, a lesson in humility to this effect. When a man is in a right mood about spiritual things he will shrink from all comparison between himself and others. Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” You know there is an ambiguity in this expression, and it exists in the Greek exactly as in the English. It niay mean, more than these love, more than thou lovest these men, or more than thou lovest these pursuits. But the circumstances of the story leave no doubt as to what is meant.

Peter had professed a few weeks before that he did love the Lord more than the other disciples. He had distinctly declared it, and no doubt he was sincere. When Jesus predicted that they would forsake him, Peter said, “Though all men forsake thee yet will I never forsake thee.” And so he singled himself out above the other disciples, as loving the Lord more than any of them. And of that he is here reminded. But when Peter comes to answer, he leaves the comparison out this time. He says, “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” He is in no mood for comparisons now. A truly humble man never is. He will be the last person to be thinking of such a thing, and if forced to make comparisons he will tell you that he is less than the least of all disciples, but that he does love the Lord, and the Lord does love him and he means to be a better servant.

There are many other such lessons in this narrative, but let us look immediately at the question, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” My friends, it has been a long time I know, long according to the centuries of human history since this question was asked. Few of us have ever stood, or ever will stand, beside the little lake of Galilee where this question was asked. Yet it is a question which lives through the ages, a question which by God’s providence has come down recorded in the sacred story, a question which our loving Redeemer ever asks. It is a question which I stand humbly in his name today and desire to press home to every man, woman, and child-and I want an answer, and before God I will have an answer, from your heart of hearts. Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you love him?

But how can a man love one whom he never saw? How can he? You love many persons whom you never saw. Think of men whose books you have read and though they live far away or died long ago, still you love them dearly. Consider heroes in history, whom you have never seen, and yet you love them for their noble deeds and noble character. To be sure we can love those whom we have never seen. But another may say, “I do not hold upon this aspect of the gospel. If you talk to me about religious life; about moral living; about good deeds in the service of Jesus Christ, that seems natural for me. I see the propriety of it.

If you talk about comprehending and believing the truths of the gospel, I understand that, but loving Jesus Christ, it looks to me like a sort of weak sentiment.” Well, of course, religious affections will vary just as natural affections do. Men differ widely in the way in which they manifest their love to those at home. There are some persons to whom it is not natural to say much about it, and quite unnatural to deal in any tender gush of sentiment, and yet it is a thousand pities if they do not love just as truly and just as warmly as those who show it most tenderly. They show it by deeds, by an occasional kind word or look, but the love is there. And so, however differently it may be shown, we all may and we ought to and we must love Jesus Christ the Lord.

Why should we love him? Well, there are many reasons. Jesus Christ is the world’s great teacher. We love our teachers, not in childhood always, for sometimes then they seem to represent to us only authority, constraint, coercion, but as we grow older there grows upon us a love of the teachers of our childhood. I went back last summer to the place where my youth was spent and saw many early friends but greatly missed a man who is still living but could not be there, a man whom I always meet with a curious love that grows on me as the years grow, the teacher of my early childhood. It is strange how one’s heart does warm toward any man or woman that guided us in the times of our earliest recollection. We love our teachers, and Jesus Christ is the world’s great teacher. He has taught us high and mighty motives to morality, such as were never known apart from him, even love to him, and to his Father and our Father. He has taught us our true relations to God, and the way back to God’s favor. He brought life and immortality to light. How we ought to love him!

Be continued tomorrow

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