Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reveling in Revelation ~ The Present of Jesus' Love

          We are called to look at Jesus’ love in the present-tense: “To him who loves us”. [1] Simon Peter was asked whether he loved Jesus in the present-tense: “Simon, do you love me? [2] A love relationship with Jesus Christ is always in the present-tense. It does not rest on the love we used to feel for Jesus, or the love we promise to feel for him some day. It rests on the love we do have for Jesus right now because of the love he has for us right now. Question: Do you love Jesus?

          It was a very gracious thing that Jesus did not ask Peter, “Simon, did you love me when you denied me those three times you said would never happen?” And, it was a very gracious thing that Jesus did not require Peter to promise that he would never make such an unloving mistake again. He simply wanted Peter to know both their hearts at the present moment.

          Jesus is the “I AM”[3]. He is the ever-present help in times of trouble[4]. He is the ever-present one. Every moment he can call to our wayward hearts, “Monte, do you love me now?” He cares not whether we give him the right answer about the future. He knows the future. He knew that Peter would be an amazing preacher of righteousness when the Holy Spirit filled him[5], because Jesus was already the “I AM” of the Day of Pentecost on the day he asked Peter if he loved him. In fact, on the day Peter denied him three times.

          Jesus knew that Peter would one day fall into the trap of favoritism by eating only with the Jewish believers and not the Gentile believers[6]. It didn’t matter if Peter thought he would love Jesus to the end. It mattered whether Peter was in a daily love relationship with Jesus based on the present moment of, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.[7]

          Love relationship with Jesus is a lot like breathing. It doesn’t really matter how much you breathed yesterday. What matters is whether you are breathing right now. It doesn’t even matter if we have the good intention of breathing tomorrow, or the next day, or the next twenty years. When we get to tomorrow, and the next day, and whatever time we have left, it will still be the same picture: are we breathing now? Yesterday’s breaths cannot keep us alive today. We cannot borrow on tomorrow’s breaths. The only thing that matters is that we are presently breathing. In fact, breathing can only be a present experience.

          Love-relationship with Jesus is always going to be in the present-tense. Those successes we had when we were young and immature believers cannot carry us through the responsibilities of mature, spiritual adulthood. Our immature thrill at discovering that Jesus calms wind and waves[8] is last year’s news. What about today when the Spirit calls us to walk on the water[9]? Calling on old faith cannot help us. We must have present-faith that works through love[10].

          All through the experiences described in Revelation, these two things matter: do we know that Jesus presently loves us? Do we presently love Jesus? If we really know Jesus loves us, we will respond to his love with obedient faith that follows him where he leads like lambs following our Shepherd. If we presently love Jesus, we will love him, love being with him, loving doing what he is doing.

          A negative way of considering this is: “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.”[11] A positive way of looking at this would be: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”[12]

          What do we do if we want to love Jesus, but we just cannot seem to figure out how to do it? God’s word says, We love because he first loved us.”[13]In other words, “To him who loves us,” comes before, “Do you love me?” We must know that God loves us before we can love him.

          We are encouraged to come into Jesus’ love and learn to love. We do not come trying to show him we are loving little creatures. We come as the poor in spirit who are desperately hungering and thirsting for the righteous love they have never experienced.[14] As we see Jesus loving us so that we hunger for the experience of that love for ourselves, we discover that he was loving us long before we even realized there was anything wrong with us. The more we know his love in our daily lives, the more we will feel love awakening our hearts to love him.

© 2012 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, Canada, V1K 1B8 ~

[1] Revelation 1:5
[2] John 21:17
[3] Exodus 3:14
[4] Psalm 46:1
[5] Acts 2
[6] Galatians 2:11-14
[7] John 21:15
[8] Luke 8:24
[9] Matthew 14:29
[10] Galatian 5:6
[11] I Corinthians 16:22
[12] Ephesians 5:1-2
[13] I John 4:19
[14] Matthew 5:1-12

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