Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so. Wait... no it doesn't. My wife was mimicking the song as a joke and it struck me, the Bible doesn't say that Jesus loves you. Cite the passage or it never happened. People have inferred Jesus' love. But is that really good enough? Would you remain married to someone who never said, "I love you."? Who only showed you once every 2000 years they loved you?
So I start digging in the Bible. There are passages of Jesus' love. In the New Testament, the closest we get is John 15:8-10 "My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father . "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.
just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.
" In this passage he's speaking to his disciples directly. Not to a crowd. Not to all of us. Even then he's saying obey and you can have my love. This isn't consistent with what you would require for those in your life and in fact, Paul seems to disagree with this version of love. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." 1 Corinthians 13:1 4-5 Even John 3:16 which seems to be the greatest show of love ever is about God's love and says nothing of Jesus' love. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." I hear the counter to this already, "But he is god." Explain that to John 15 where he says "just as I obey my Father". The bulk of the love passages in the Bible are requirements of us to love God or Jesus. The requirement itself is the antithesis of love.
It's like having that parent that never hugs you or says I love you. Have they really loved you if it can't be expressed? I have an aunt who had difficulty expressing herself in a loving manner when she was younger. She had three boys. The middle son was the best athlete. The best student. He was clearly the favorite. He went undefeated two years in wrestling except for the state finals. He choked. His younger brother went on to win it the following year. When he came up to see his mom, her first comment was, "I wish that your brother could have done that." The moment was stolen. No hug. No I love you. No expression of pride. Since becoming a grandmother she has greatly improved which is good for all. Jesus could have explicitly stated his love for all. Instead, he demands love, an act that anyone with self-respect would reject.
Love is not about rules. Love is not about being on your side. Love is not something only to be requited when you feel like it. Love is not about judgement. Love is not anger. Jesus is about all of these things. If Jesus loves you and you know it, I feel sad for your life. If love is judgement and rules and this is the greatest love in your life, I send out a big hug. Jesus never showed that he loved you. Jesus "obeyed" his father on the cross. Demand more from your spiritual leader. The next time you hear someone say that Jesus Loves You, ask them, "Where in the Bible can I find that passage?"