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The Scriptorium

The Primacy of Love

It's what defines a Jesus follower. Luke 6.27-49

Luke 6: Part 2 (7)

Pray Psalm 119.105, 106.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

Sing Psalm 119.105, 106.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
Your Word a lamp is to brighten my way.
Lord, from Your pathway let me never stray!
I give my word now as I have before:
Your righteous Law I will keep ever more.

Read Luke 6.1-49; meditate on verse 46.

1. Who can truly call Jesus “Lord”?

2. Who should not?

The second part of Luke 6, which continues setting forth the “constitution” of Christ’s Kingdom, focuses on the duty of love. Love is the defining mark of a true believer, both love for God and love for our neighbors.

Love is the “good fruit” that issues from a “good heart”, a heart devoted to Christ in love (vv. 43-45). When our hearts are saturated with love so that love is the commanding affection of our soul, we will love like Jesus does and thus prove that we are good fruit-bearing trees in the Kingdom.

Jesus calls us to love even our enemies, and to be generous and charitable to all people who are in need (vv. 27-31). Since our Teacher has demonstrated such amazing love – healing the sick, casting out demons, teaching God’s Word – we who are His disciples must aspire to be like Him (v. 40; cf. Jn. 13.34, 35). Even when it is necessary to act in judgment, we must do so lovingly, with righteous judgment, making sure that we are not guilty of sin before we try to help others acknowledge and deal with theirs (vv. 41, 42).

But we will not be able to stand firm in love unless we are grounded solidly on the Word of Christ. The storms and trials of the world will shake us from our sure foundation unless underlying all we do is love for Jesus and His Word (vv. 46-49). Love is not a matter of mere lip service; the Kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power (1 Cor. 4.20). Jesus is our Lord, and we are His true subjects as we eagerly attend to His Word day by day and are careful to obey what He teaches. Loving Him and His Word, we will love our neighbors as ourselves and, more importantly, as Jesus does.

The old regime of mere self-love is through; the new regime of love for God and neighbors is beginning to unfold. And central to it all is Jesus, the very embodiment of God’s love for the world (Jn. 3.16).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Jesus, the very embodiment of God’s love for us, wants to see and experience our love for Him. And because He came in human form, He and we, understand what He is talking about.

How many of you want to hear “I love you” from a spouse and then have their behavior prove the exact opposite? How many want to hear “I love you” from a child and then have them completely disrespect and disregard anything that we have requested them to do? How many would like to have an employee never do what their job description required, but by golly, they say that we are a tremendous boss? My guess would be that no one would say, “Oh, I’d like very much to be that unappreciated spouse, parent, or employer.”

Eliza Doolittle sang these very thoughts in My Fair Lady. Here are a few of her appropriate lines penned by Lerner and Lowe:
Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through first from him now from you!

Is that all you blighters can do?

Don’t talk of stars burning above; if you’re in love, Show me!
Tell me no dreams filled with desire; If you’re on fire, Show me!

Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn’t one I haven’t heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream; say one more word and I’ll scream!

One can almost hear Jesus singing those very words to us. And we should be chagrined and saddened by that very thought.

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6.46)

Indeed, why? He is the King. He is our King. We live in His Kingdom. We should do everything that He says. We should do all that He requires. And yet, sadly, it seems our words are way ahead of our actions.

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Prov. 21.3).
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Sam. 15.22).

David, too, penned a song on this topic:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart’” (Ps. 40.6-8).

We most assuredly do not ever want to hear Jesus ask us this question: But why don’t you do what I want you to do? We, more than anything, want Him to know of our deep love and appreciation for Him. That He deserves our utmost, our best, our life. After all, that is what He gave for us.

“Now may the God of peace…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13.20, 21).

“The Primacy of Love” for Him supersedes all other callings upon our life. Don’t just say you love Him, show Him. Now!

For reflection
1. How can you know whether you love Jesus with all your soul and strength?

2. Why is loving Jesus this way essential for loving our neighbors?

3. To whom will you show the love of Jesus today?

those shall enter the kingdom who have Christ and the gospel not only in their mouths but also in their hearts, those who do the will of Christ and live as the gospel teaches them. These shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, where they will live eternally in joy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to whom be all glory, Amen. Richard Taverner (1505-1575), On the Eighth Sunday after Trinity 12

Pray Psalm 119.107-112.
Offer praise to God as an expression of your love for Him. Spread before Him that work that lies ahead of you this day, and ask Him to guide you by His Word and to give you joy in serving Him.

Sing Psalm 119.107-112.
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
I am afflicted and sorely distressed;
O Lord, revive me that I may be blessed.
Teach me Your Word, Lord, my thanks I proclaim;
off’rings of praise I declare to Your Name!

Daily I take up my life in my hand,
working to keep to Your gracious command.
Let not the wicked turn me from Your way;
I from Your precepts, O Lord, will not stray.

I take Your Word as the joy of my heart,
my trust, my heritage, my special part.
I bend my heart to fulfill all Your Word,
always, forever, to serve You, O Lord.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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