Jesus is love, that is who He is. AW Tozer says, “Jesus Christ knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the One who loves you the most.”
So…what does it look like for Jesus to show love? Do we just think about the “typical” loving ways? Things like when Jesus heals the lame or the blind? What about Him feeding the crowds (the five thousand)? But don’t forget about the Cross, is that not a way that Jesus Christ showed love to us?
All of those are great ways in which He showed love to us and things that we shouldn’t forget. But what about Him showing love in “abnormal” ways.
When the Bible tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love, we typically stop there, but the other characteristic that comes to mind is just, God is a just God. 2 Thessalonians 1:6, 8 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
So the people that we read about the most where Jesus is showing “just love,” is with the Pharisees. The Pharisees paint a perfect picture of worldly people, people who are more concerned with the outside of the cup and ignore the inside. Luke 11:39, 52 Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”
So many times in my day in age, I see people trying to compensate the world, to act like the world to reach the world, they don’t want to offend anyone. Based on what I have found while reading through the Gospels, Jesus was not afraid to offend anyone, He spoke the truth and what He knew the Father wanted Him to say. Below are a few Bible verses of when Jesus was ministering and teaching to others when He showed, what I would call tough (just) love.
Matthew 3:7-10 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
Matthew 5:20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Matthew 8:10-12, 21-22 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 10:14, 34-39 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Matthew 11:20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God.
Matthew 15:11-14, 18-19 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
Matthew 18:6-7, 33-35 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Matthew 21:12-17 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.
Matthew 23:2-7, 15-22, 25-28 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Mark 14:21 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
Luke 13:3, 5, 24-27 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 16:15 Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.
Luke 18:24-25 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Luke 19:20-27 “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’ “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’”
Luke 20:46-47 “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”
No matter what the crowd may say, we have to remain faithful to God and to His Word, teaching just the way Jesus Christ did.