Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church
Jesus loves all people
Romans 5:8 says, “God proves God’s love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
When Jesus goes to middle school, he hangs out with all the cool kids, just like you would think. But Jesus also does something unexpected. Besides hanging out with the cool kids, Jesus also hangs out with the kids no one will talk to, the kids everyone is embarrassed to be seen with. Jesus embraces them, too. Jesus loves all of us, whether we’re full of pride or full of shame, stuck on ourselves or feeling insecure.
Paul says the depth of God's amazing love for us is shown in that Jesus embraced the cross out of love for us when we were still sinners. In other words, when we were in the group of kids no one would hang out with, Jesus didn't just become friends with us, he went so far as to die for us because he loved us so much.
Before he died, Jesus said this amazing love is the kind of love we should have for each other. In John 15, Jesus says we should love others the same way that Jesus loved us, being willing to give up our lives for our friends.
In the TV program Amazing Race, the last team to finish any episode is sometimes eliminated.
In this week’s episode (Season 28, Episode 4), a team of two women arrived last at a puzzle that wasn’t easy to solve. All the other teams were helping each other. But nobody would help these two women when they arrived.
These women had helped other teams in earlier episodes and felt like they deserved some help now. But they didn’t get it. The other teams successfully solved the puzzle and raced off – leaving the two women behind. The women were disappointed, unhappy and dejected. They were certain they were going to lose the race. They thought they were going to lose because:
- They arrived late at the puzzle
- Nobody would help them
- Everybody else got help from other teams
- Everybody left long before they did
But in fact they didn’t lose the race for any of those reasons. They didn’t even lose the race because they got discouraged. They lost the race because they quit trying.
Since they thought it didn’t matter, they started going slower. They let discouragement cause them to mope about their state instead of trying to change it.
After the puzzle was solved, teams had to catch two trains with a connection in the middle. When the women finally solved the puzzle, they got on a train to the connection point.
They were all alone. All the other teams had left them behind. What was the point of trying anymore?
Because they were discouraged, when they got to the connection point, they didn’t run to the connecting train. They just plodded along. They were certain they had already lost.
What they didn’t know was that all the other teams were on the connecting train, which was still waiting at the station. If they had run to catch it, they would have boarded in time. They suddenly would have been tied for first place with all the other teams. But because they quit trying, they lost the race.
It’s easy to let appearances discourage you. It’s easy to quit praying for healing or trying for miracles or doing something you’re called to do because of past disappointments. But if you quit, you won’t see the breakthroughs you could have experienced if you had kept trying.
Jesus told his disciples to feed a crowd with what they had. They only had access to five loaves and two fish. The disciples saw it wasn’t enough. They wanted to quit. But Jesus blessed the little they had and told them to give it away. To their surprise, it was enough. (You can read the story in Matthew 14:13-21.)
Don’t quit. Give the little you have and ask Jesus to bless it.
God, thank you for the great love you have shown us through Jesus. Thank you for Jesus' call for us to love as deeply as he did. Sometimes it can seem like we don't have enough love or enough resources to meet the need before us. But thank you for all the people who haven’t quit, people who are giving the little they have and are willing to let you bless it. We praise you. Amen.
Verse to memorize
Romans 5:8 (NRSV) God proves God’s love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
Send time reflecting on God’s amazing and complete love for you.