What Did Jesus Teach?
Love is What Characterizes His Kingdom
The first thing Jesus teaches us is about the Kingdom of God or the rule of God in men’s hearts. The second thing is that at the heart of the kingdom is a loving father. And now, third, Jesus taught that unconditional love is what characterizes his kingdom.
In the first century the Jews had a triad of their own. If they could ever hope to please God they needed to do-do-do. It was these 3 things that they did:
First was the temple in Jerusalem – it was the place they needed to go for all the really big festivals – like Passover. Second was the Sabbath Day – Everyone needed to go to the synagogue to learn from their religious leaders so that they could keep this day holy. And - Third was the Law of Moses---called the Torah. They needed to study it and obey it.
Jesus changed all this and in doing so actually set himself against the religious establishment. For example: Jesus knew it was against the rules to do anything major on the Sabbath, ---but over and over he healed people on that very day. Why?
Jesus was demonstrating that He was the Lord of the Sabbath and not Vis versa.
Then, He gave his followers a new law as he washed the dust from their feet – “Love one another as I have loved you.” This was nothing short of revolutionary----especially the part about loving your enemies. Don’t miss the heart of the lesson. It will NEVER be religious activities that will bring you into the Kingdom of God. God doesn’t want servants. He wants friends. He wants sons and daughters. For you and me it’s not a question of our doing a lot of things. Rather, it’s allowing God to be our loving father and then taking our place as his son or daughter.
The Greek word for true, selfless, unconditional love is “agape” and it was one that Jesus introduced into the language. It did exist before Jesus, but until He came no one had really seen what it looked like. Agape love meant the complete giving of self for someone who was repulsive or totally unworthy of that kind of giving.
And that’s what God did. He loved the world ---you and I --- so much that He gave his one and only Son Jesus --- for us. It cost God his Son. It cost Jesus his life. And we are the recipients of this great love.