God sent his Son in an act of love and sacrifice. His Son left heaven to become a baby born to a virgin teenage girl. She hadn’t known a man in the way that one must in order to conceive and give birth. His was an immaculate conception. He was a gift from a God who loved the world and offered eternal life through that swaddled babe.
Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.
But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:27-31
Jesus ate with Zacchaeus, a local tax collector. Zacchaeus had a history of overcharging his neighbors and townspeople for their taxes. He kept the overages and became wealthy. He was hated by the community. But Jesus came along one day and invited himself to have dinner with Zacchaeus. The town was in an uproar. How dare he eat with such a sinner. Didn’t he know how Zacchaeus had treated these people? Why would he stoop so low for such a man? Yet Jesus loved him the same as he loved anyone else. When Zacchaeus repented and returned the money to the rightful owners, he walked away a forgiven man.
Another time, Jesus and his disciples were on a journey and had been walking all morning. They were tired. Jesus sat down to rest at the local well in Samaria. The disciples went into town to buy food. As Jesus rested, a local woman came to draw water. He struck up a conversation with her. Being God in human form, he knew everything about this woman. And he told her things about herself that no one else knew. And then he offered her living water. Water that would quench her eternal thirst. This woman, who was living a life of sin and shunned by her neighbors, was offered eternal life by the Messiah. She knew that Jews and Samaritans didn’t even speak to each other, but here was this Jewish man who offered her the gift she had always been searching for. She ran to tell anyone who would listen.
Truly He taught us to love one another.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34
The Christmas story is one of love and peace. But soon after his birth, this God babe was being hunted. I’m sure Joseph and Mary didn’t feel like they were surrounded by peace, because it wasn’t too long before they were running for their lives. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to get up and move his family. That very night, they left for Egypt.
Before Jesus began his ministry, he went to the wilderness to fast and pray. 40 days and 40 nights. Satan came along and tempted him three different times. Even though he was hungry and weak, Jesus resisted and commanded Satan to leave him. When Satan left, angels came to Jesus and took care of him.
During his ministry, Jesus taught love and peace. His love was self sacrificing. Jesus laid down his life for all people. His love provides peace to a hurting world.
This world doesn’t seem to be too loving or peaceful right now. Oh. People are looking for love and peace all right. But they’re looking in all the wrong places. Unkind words are being said and written. How can people even think such things, let alone say them. Selfishness and gluttony seem to be the theme of the day. Yet we look the other way, hoping our sins seem less offensive than the sins of those we are judging. Where is the love? Where is the peace? We wonder how the world has gotten to this point. It’s time we ask ourselves if we’re part of the problem or part of the solution.
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. Romans 13:8
His law is love and His gospel is peace.