Here to Love

Matt GallagherPosted on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 by Matt Gallagher

Last time we saw that, having done some amazing and miraculous things in a short space of time and sent his followers out to do the same sort of things in his name. Jesus told them that the most important thing for them to be doing (and the thing that would mark them out to observers as his followers) was not the amazing and miraculous – but that they love each other.

Probably the most well-known passage in the Bible about love is 1 Corinthians 13 (if you’ve been to many church weddings you’ll probably recognise these words from that passage, ‘Love is patient, love is kind’) This part of the Bible starts with these words,

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

and ends with these words,

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The writer here is not saying that we shouldn’t speak with the best of human or heavenly tongues; shouldn’t prophesy; shouldn’t exercise gifts of wisdom or knowledge, shouldn’t be performing miracles; shouldn’t be giving of our possessions and ourselves… no.

But he IS saying that love is the most important thing; the context for everything else (the thing that will last when everything else has ceased) and that if we do all those other things without love then we are “like a resounding gong, or a clanging cymbal.”

If we do all the amazing things Jesus did (and, according to his words, even greater things) without love then all we are doing is drawing attention to ourselves, but if we are doing them in a context where we first demonstrate our love for each other… then we demonstrate that we are followers of Jesus – and we draw attention to him instead.

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