For those of you wondering “what happened to lesson 2 of the series on BRUTAL LOVE”–here it is. Better late posting than never.
Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church Brutal Love Series Lesson 2
A Busy Little Boy
I got to spend a night and day with my grandson Isaiah…alone! For anyone who has had the privilege of knowing Zaya you will understand that it was a very busy time, but I was prepared. I had planned out every minute before hand because I know that Isaiah is a very active kid. We went to the park twice–once with the dog and once with his bike and no dog. A more inexperienced babysitter might have taken the bike, the dog and Zaya to the park all in one trip but that would have been a mistake, because Isaiah is a very active kid. The dog, the bike or Zaya would have been lost or stolen for sure.
For dinner we cooked cheesy chicken nuggets and asparagus. Zaya’s chosen menu. I stood him on a chair and he and I did every step together because I knew he would insist on helping. A more inexperienced baby sitter would have tried to cook for both of them. That action would have burned the house down (or at least splattered hot oil over the both of them) when Zaya’s little “helping hands” got in the way. After dinner I planned on watching one movie with Zaya while eating snacks. I got two movies and multiple snacks and drinks because Zaya is a very active kid! This was a good plan because Zaya didn’t think the first movie was funny enough so we watched the second one…three times!
Zaya fell asleep at 1:30AM and he woke up with a great big smile and a hearty “Good morning Papa” at 7AM, because Isaiah is an early riser… I am not. We went out for breakfast! We spent the morning at the park, made more cheesy nuggets for lunch and I was beat by nap time, but Zaya wasn’t sleepy because he is a very active kid. I was elated when Terryl and his mother came home earlier than I expected. Zaya and I had a wonderful time together, but it was great to get back to the work that I had left to do. You see, I’m also a very active person, but you can’t take your eyes off of Isaiah for one minute.
“Father’s Business” Luke 2:41-52, Matthew 4:19, 5:13-16, 16:21-27
We don’t know much about Jesus’ childhood but we do know that He was an active child by the account in Luke’s gospel. Mary and Joseph should not have taken their eyes off of the boy on that Passover when they lost Him for three days, but what is even more alarming is the way that Jesus responded to His frantic parents when they finally found Him in conversation with the teachers in the Temple. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” The KJV reads: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Jesus was on a mission even as a boy. He was active in building God’s kingdom from the onset of His life. Active in His Father’s business and active in demonstrating His love. He calls His followers to that action too. Jesus’ call to His first disciples was to one of action: Follow me he said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). A fish does not just jump into your boat. A fisherman must exert action to catch fish. To follow Jesus was and is to be in action for God’s kingdom. He taught His disciples to pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, (not “my” will) on earth as it is in Heaven”. (Matthew 6:10). Surely he expected that Mary and Joseph would know such a thing. That is why He said: “Didn’t you know?”(Luke 2:49) Do you know? Following Jesus means that you are to be actively involved in God’s kingdom work: learning about it, conversing about it, teaching it and demonstrating it in “deed and truth” (John 3:18). In fact Jesus told His followers to let their light shine (act out what is inside of them: God’s love in action: Matthew 5:17). Later, when Peter moved towards a selfish action that was not part of God’s “kingdom plan” Jesus called him “Satan!” Our human concerns are not to be what controls our actions. We are to “pick up our cross” (die to selfishness) and follow Him otherwise Satan is working in us.
“Brutal” Love in Action
brutal bru·tal : 1. savagely violent 2. punishingly hard or uncomfortable 3. direct and lacking any attempt to disguise unpleasantness. “the brutal honesty of his observations.” synonyms: unsparing, unstinting, unembellished, unvarnished, bald, naked, stark, blunt, direct, straightforward, frank, outspoken, forthright, plain-spoken.
The third definition of “brutal” certainly defines the love that Christ demonstrated to us in His actions. The first two definitions of the word define what was done to Him because of the love He demonstrated. Like the song says: “He loves like a hurricane, I am a tree.” How He Loves Us: John Mark McMillan Jesus loves directly, blunt and straight-forwardly. He is frank, outspoken and unsparing of anyone or anything that might get in the way of His love for us. Consider these statements of His love and affection: “Truly, truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you. John 6:53 “Apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”. Matthew 18:6 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me”.… Matthew 10:37-38
The most brutal aspect of Jesus’ love is that he demonstrated all of His words with action and He never asked His followers to do anything that He himself did not do first; therefore: We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Do we ACT like we love Him?
Our Love in Action James 2:17-19, John 21:15-19, 2 Peter 1:5-11
James said it bluntly: “Faith without action is dead.” Jesus simply said to Peter “Do you love me? (3x due to his denial: Luke 22:54-62) Then He challenged Peters affirmative response with a call to action. “Then feed My sheep”. Peter did just that and later wrote to “make every effort” towards action in love. May we act accordingly to these encouragements.