Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Romans 5:6
Chris and Phil were lifelong chums, friends since meeting at the playground wading pool when they were two years old. They had never even had a fight—until eighth grade, that is, when Andrew Patterson walked into their lives. Andrew’s family had moved to their town from out of state at the beginning of the school year. One Saturday when Chris told Phil he would meet him at the roller-skating rink the way he always did, he was shocked. Andrew had already asked Phil to meet him there. And Phil had said yes!
So will Chris still be friends with Phil, or will he yell, “You dirty rat!” and never talk to him again? The answer depends on whether or not Chris has learned how to love like Jesus loved—unconditionally—no strings attached.
Jesus knows what it means to be let down and rejected by friends. When Jesus was arrested, “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). Even Peter, who insisted he would never turn his back on the Lord, triple-denied him while Jesus stood trial.
Jesus could have resented his friends for walking away when he needed them most. But he forgave them. When he rose from the dead, he appeared to these same disciples and trusted them to do his work throughout the world. He even spent extra time with Peter, strengthening him for the enormous task ahead of him (see John 21:15-19).
Jesus’ love also extended to the men who killed him. As he hung, nailed to the cross after a brutal beating by Roman soldiers, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
And Jesus’ unconditional love even extends to us. Paul wrote that we were “helpless” (Romans 5:6), that we were “still sinners” (verse 8), and that we were “enemies” (verse 10) of the Lord because of our sin. Even at our worst, Jesus Christ loved us and gave his life for us so that we could be “made right in God’s sight” (verse 9). Because of his unconditional love, we can say with Paul, “Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God” (verse 11).
Aren’t you glad you have a friend like Jesus? Let his unconditional love be your model in all your relationships with friends and family!
TALK: Under what conditions is it hard to love someone? How would Jesus respond in those situations?
PRAY: Lord, we’re so grateful to you for loving us unconditionally. Help us to show that kind of love to everyone around us.
ACT: Show some of Jesus’ no-strings-attached love today to someone who has wronged you.