Beliefnet
Red Letters

2442587124_6f74c8667b_o (Large).jpgThere’s a great Subaru ad campaign right now with the slogan, Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.  Click the ad to see all the awesome stuff you can do with a Subaru.

I am one of the many Coloradans who owns a Subaru. Whether they are made with love is debatable, but the ads are attempting to tap into the most complex emotion we possess. Love.

Americans are said to have love affairs with their cars. Have you ever named your car? Or know someone who has? I think of the Dukes of Hazzard and the General Lee. Or Michael Knight’s KITT on Knight Rider. Or Herbie. We love our cars.

I believe that love is the central ethic of the Gospels of Jesus. Like a Subaru, love is what makes the Gospel, the Gospel. If you take love out of the equation, the entire purpose and teachings of Jesus come apart. Love is foundational to Jesus ministry.

In fact, I think it is nearly impossible to read through the Gospels and miss this point.

But what kind of love is Jesus talking about?
Certainly not the kind we have for our cars. It’s a love much deeper and stronger and more fascinating than just mere attachment to an object.

We get the first glimpse of this in John 3:16. For God so loved the world that
he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus was sent out of God’s love for the world and the people He created in His image. The redemption of humanity started with God’s love for us.

We see this love again in Jesus baptism in Matthew 3:17, as God speaks from heaven: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Let’s consider some other teachings of Jesus that emphasize the centrality of love…

  • Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:42-46)
  • Love for God must exceed your love even for your own family (Matthew 10:36-38)
  • Loving God is our “greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37)
  • Loving your neighbor as yourself is the second most important (Matthew 22:39)
  • Love is more valued by God than “all burnt offerings and sacrifices (Mark 12:33)
  • Love is hardwired to forgiveness (Luke 7)
  • Love goes hand-in-hand with justice (Luke 11)
  • Love compels obedience (John 14)
  • We are commanded to “love as Jesus loved us.” (John 15)
  • Love unifies and protects believers (John 17)
  • The greatest love is to die for friendship (John 15)
  • Jesus tells Peter to “feed His sheep” to show His love for Jesus  (John 21)

Love is painted throughout the Gospels. And if you read through those verses you will find that each one of them, without exception, requires action.

We cannot be filled with the Red Letters love of the Gospels without acting. We often say, “actions speak louder than words.” And that is Jesus’ core teaching on love. To have love, you have to show love.  And to show love,  you need to act with intentionality and purpose.

But HOW do you do this in every day life?

Comment your answers today, I’ll offer my take tomorrow.

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