A Love Like No Other

Mark 12

Today’s reading is Mark 12, and we will focus on Mark 12:30-31. Jesus tells us the greatest and 2nd greatest commandment when asked by a scribe. He says…

“And you shall love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Let’s then ask the question my four-year old son asks many times daily, “Why?” Growing up, there were times when I wondered what made Jesus death different than many other people throughout history who had been wrongly put to death.

Romans 3:23 and 6:23 provide an explanation. Romans 3:23 states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James 4:17 even tells us that we sin not just by what we do, but by what we don’t do. The beginning of Romans 6:23 tells us, “the wages of sin is death.” I think it is often overlooked that sin is singular here. Many people mistakenly think that if they do more things right than wrong, and if they are a “good person,” they will go to Heaven, but just one sin separates us from God and brings us condemnation. I love the picture often used to tell the Gospel which shows us on one side and God on the other side of a large crevice with sin and Hell at the bottom. We are separated from God due to our sin and there is no way to get to the other side until we lay the cross down, which Jesus died on for us, as a bridge to bring us together with God.

Romans 5:8 tells us, “God shows us His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” We did nothing to deserve this. These verses answer my question growing up as to why Jesus’ death on the cross is different and so important. Only God, who is without sin, can justify us and bring us together with Him as one by grace through his perfect son Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “(God) who saved us and called us to a holy calling not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which He gave in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” He did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. No number of good deeds can bring us together with God. Only His grace can do that through Jesus’ death on the cross and our belief in Him. Because He did this, 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that we are called to live for Him and not for ourselves.

Think about if you would be able to love your spouse, parent, or child the same if they sinned against you every hour of every day? This is what we do to God, and He still loves us more than we could ever love another human being because His love in original Greek is “agape” which means unconditional love.

So now that God has given us this free gift of grace through Jesus, how can we not love Him immensely and feel called to give that same love and grace to our neighbors which He tells us to do in Mark 12:31? In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells Peter that we are to forgive our neighbor over and over again, just as He does us. 1 John 14:9 says, “we love because He first loved us.”  I think it is very neat how John 3:16 that many know so well says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Then, 1 John 3:16 correlates with that and says, “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers (and sisters.)”

I’ve heard non-believers say that if going to Heaven is just about praising and worshipping God for eternity, then there is no way I want to go there. This makes my heart ache when I hear this because they do not know God’s love. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” I wish I could say that I connect with God’s love as deeply and as often as He wants and I should, but I don’t. However, there are moments in church when we are standing and praising God in song when I feel that connection and oneness with God and His love. I don’t want the song to ever end, and I think to myself, “if this is what Heaven will be like then I can’t wait to get there and spend forever like this.” His love fills me up and gives me peace like nothing I can describe in these moments.

My prayer this day for all of you and for myself is that we connect with and feel God’s love more today and every day and then that we share that love with others.

My close friends will laugh if they read this because they probably could have easily guessed that at some point, sooner rather than later, I would reference the lyrics of a song by my favorite band Sister Hazel. I don’t know if this song was written with Christ’s love in mind, but His love is what I think of when I hear it. Here are the lyrics below. Check it out on you tube…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azq8hqLrRnU

Or better yet..download it.

This Kind of Love

This kind of love makes me feel ten feet tall

It makes all my problems fall

And this kind of trust helps me to hold the line

I’ll be there every time

 

This kind of love it’s what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t enough of this kind of love

 

This kind of hope is what I try to find

And now I can’t deny I believe

And this kind of faith is so unshakeable

It’s unmistakable

It’s bigger than me

 

This kind of love it’s what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t enough of this kind of love

 

Your love can move a mountain

It makes my world go round

It’s always there to guide me

I’m so lucky that I found

 

This kind of love is what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Well baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t get enough of this kind of love

This kind of love

 

Published by

Chet Bandy

I live in Bloomington, Illinois with my wife Shannon and 3 young children. I grew up in Central Illinois with Lutheran roots. We moved to the area in 2011 and began attending Eastview Christian Church where I now lead a Small Group. It's been awesome to see God's plan for our lives and our growing thirst for knowledge and closer relationship with Jesus through our move to Bloomington. Professionally, I'm a financial advisor and Managing Director with Northwestern Mutual.