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Love speaks louder than words

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Luke 11:27-29

A woman in the crowd called out to Jesus,

"Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."

He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

As the crowds increased, Jesus said,

"This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah."

Jesus forced issue after issue with his words, his healings and deliverances, and of course his parables. He insisted on honesty and humility in his listeners. Whether clear or confusing, his stories pointed out weakness and failure in the self-confident, and gave hope to the hopeless.

He certainly turned away from praise and adulation. Jesus wanted nothing to do with riding the shoulders of the adoring crowd. He knew himself to be what Paul later called him, the "firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29), and he knew this family of God could never come to be among men and women so ignorant of God's endless love for them.

Jesus' awareness of his Father's love made him different from those around him every day of his life. He might have been tempted to sin - to take credit, take advantage, take for himself ... but in the anointing he had from heaven Jesus turned away from that sin. So his relationship with his Father blossomed and grew and became more important than anything else in his life.

How could he communicate the value of that to those around him, those on whom he had so much compassion? They so often only wanted quick fixes and something for themselves. They were so desperate for attention and comfort and entertainment in the moment of their pain. Their ability to feel their family ties to those around them was limited to a few blood relatives, a village, maybe a race.

Us too, of course. Our sins are about the same as theirs. Jesus never abandoned that generation he called "wicked," and he'll never abandon us. He died, spent three days in the tomb like Jonah spent three days in the fish, and lives again.

His disciple John later wrote, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18). Jesus, firstborn among many brothers, shows us the way.

God, you are on heaven and I am no earth. So let my words be few. Jesus, you show me, all of us, how to be free from selfishness. Not with words but with your life. Thank you.

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