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Jesus and the Love Languages

Following on from my previous post have you considered how Jesus showed Love to people while he was walking through the holy land?  I would like to propose that he showed love using a different language as the situation required it.

Touch – In the eighth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel it records the story of Jesus healing a leper. When God gave Moses the law it was established that those who had any form of leprosy were unclean.  By Jesus’ time this had developed into a culture that outcast the leper.  No one would touch a leper and thus make themselves unclean.  Jesus on the other hand saw the leper and touched him.

Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:3 NASB)

It was highly likely that the leper’s primary love language was touch, if it wasn’t then it was definitely deprived from him.  If this was the case then the simple act of Jesus touching him would have been enough to not only heal his leprosy but also to heal his spirit by showing him love in the way that meant the most to him.

Acts of Service – Ever considered what Jesus was doing when he washed the disciples feet in John chapter thirteen?  He wasn’t just demonstrating that we are required to be servants but also he was demonstrating love.  To whom?  No doubt with such esteemed guests coming for the Passover feast the host and servants were busy with the preparations and serving that comes when such a gathering happens.  Jesus, here, not only took the time to humble himself and wash the feet of his disciples but in so doing demonstrated his love to the host and servants by doing a job that had been overlooked in the business of the day.

Quality Time – The story of Nicodemus is the one that comes to mind here.  Jesus took the time in the middle of the night to meet one on one with Nicodemus and answer his questions without the crowd pressing around.  This is quality time, in so doing Jesus demonstrated his love for Nicodemus.  There are many other times when Jesus went away with some or all of disciples, the crossing of the lake, the fish on the shore after his resurrection, these are all examples of quality time that Jesus spent with people and in so doing demonstrated his love for them.

Words of Affirmation – Luke 19 records the story of Zaccheus.

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."  And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.   When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."  Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:5-10 NASB)

Not only did Jesus here offer some quality time to Zaccheus but he spoke words of affirmation to him in verse 9 Jesus says “he, too, is a son of Abraham.”  To us today this seems obvious, but Zaccheus as a tax collector for the Roman lords was despised and outcast by his people.  This single act by Jesus saved Zaccheus, and probably as result many others whose stories are not recorded for us.

Gifts – Wine for the wedding?  The life of Jarius’ daughter? Are these not gifts that Jesus gave?  These expressions of love through the act of giving gifts demonstrated Jesus cared not only about the people but also their needs.  These gifts of love however seem shallow when perhaps the greatest gift, and expression of his love for us, was giving his life up for us on the cross.

As we have seen both Jesus, and therefore God, have the ability to show love to us in whatever language we need when we most need it.  But he is also capable of receiving love from us, in what ever way we feel most comfortable to give it to him.  It doesn’t have to be difficult for us to show our love to God.  We suffer from a love language barrier when we try to show love to people, God, however, does not have this barrier and is free to give and receive love in whatever way we can.

It makes sense, after all “God is Love” (1Jn 4:8). This raises another topic for thought.  If God is Love, then perhaps, each of the five love languages, and his expressions of them, show us a different aspect of his character and we being made in his likeness should therefore strive to be fluent in all of these love languages so that we can reveal his love to the world.

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Categories: Bible

Joseph Who?

22 December 2008 Leave a comment

Joseph is often forgotten about at Christmas because he simply the husband of Mary and not the father of Jesus.  He was however chosen by God to be the adoptive father of Jesus and he was of the royal line, a potential King.  We never a hear a word spoken by him in the Bible, he is spoken about and spoken to but he never utters a single syllable.  Matthew talks about him in his Gospel but the last we hear of him is when Jesus presented himself at the temple, aged twelve.  Joseph like all Hebrew fathers, would have played a critical role in the early years of Jesus’ life teaching him about God, the patriarchs, the coming salvation of the Jews and the promises of God. 

But who was Joseph?  He was a carpenter, he would therefore have loved the feel of wood and stone.  From the two turtle dove gift of Mary at the temple we can conclude that Joseph was most likely a poor man living a simple ordinary life.  Being a carpenter he was most likely a simple practical man, building something useful and maintaining a good name in the community was probably all he had thought he would become.

He would have looked forward to the raising of family and living a simple life.  However, in one night, with one startling revelation, his life and dreams would be changed forever.  Joseph, like any honorable man of the time, would have been stunned to find out about the pregnancy of his future wife.  Matthew reports in his Gospel that Joseph was considering to put her away quietly, the only practical respectful option that was available to him.  Though we will never know exactly what led him to this decision, it is clear that he still loved Mary and didn’t want to disgrace her.  It is possible that Mary didn’t give him all of the facts about the pregnancy and the visits she had from God’s messengers, but it is just as likely that Mary had given him all the facts and Joseph couldn’t comprehend what she was saying.  Either way Joseph was prepared to give up everything he had dreamed so that the plans of God could be fulfilled in Mary’s life.

That was until he was visited directly by an angel.  From this night forward Joseph’s life was forever changed.  His union to Mary was required so that through him Jesus would have the full legal status that was required.  Joseph at this point instantly obeyed the word of God that was given to him.  The illustration of Joseph is typical of lots of us, caught between what God says and what makes sense.  He chose, however, to obey despite the lack of sense or practicality of it (He would have had to brought the wedding forward, no easy task in his day, no easy task in ours either.)

So why Joseph?  Because he was firstly a carpenter, sturdy, stable and practical, yet sensitive to the voice of God.  Able to stand quietly with the Mary through the ridicule she undoubtedly received.  He was strong, yet compassionate.  Able to lead an expedition to Bethlehem, and able to encourage and strengthen his young bride throughout the long difficult journey.  He, like all Jewish Dads, was the first teacher for Jesus, yet when Jesus revealed his first allegiance to another father he humbly and quietly stepped back while God stepped forward.  Amazingly through all of this he never speaks a word, that we know about, yet what he did speaks volumes to us all.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is free to come to anyone, or any nobody, like Joseph or Mary, you, or me.  The responsibility is on us, just as it was on Joseph, simply to follow Christ obediently with all that we have.  Joseph and Mary could not have known the eternal significance of what their obedience would bring.  They would not have thought that thirty years on their eldest Son would go through such agony as the substitutionary atoning sacrifice for the entire history of the world.  If they had they most likely would have done something else.  However, they chose instead to obediently follow the word of God that they each received.  What are you going to do?  How about, like me, in this time of reflection and new year resolutions, you purpose to listen to and obey God despite the seemingly impractical nature of the obedience.

 

References:

Turning Point Ministries – Dr David Jeremiah – Why Joseph?

Gospel of Matthew

Categories: Bible