Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Word "That Turned the World Upside Down"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us to "love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." But no one knew what He meant. It went right over people's heads (Matt. 5:44). No one really understood the true dimensions of "love" until the cross (cf. Eph. 3:18, 19). The word Jesus used for "love" was not the ordinary, day-to-day one that people used in the Greek or Latin world--it was AGAPE. The idea was foggy; it couldn't be defined until the cross.

The world marvels at the miracle of His resurrection after three days in the tomb; but the even greater miracle was the love He demonstrated. It was unearthly--had never been seen since time began. Every crucifixion done by the Romans had been a demonstration of cursing, invective, raw hatred; here was one where the Victim prayed for His murderers! It became talked about throughout the Empire. No advertising could have been purchased at any price that was more effective for proclaiming the gospel.

This love known as agape is a different genre than what we call love. Unlike the "natural" love we are born with that loves its own, or loves nice people, agape loves ugly people, mean people, unworthy people, yes, enemies. Unheard of!

On the lips of the apostles, it became the word "that turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). Its origin was unearthly. It had to be "poured into" emptied human hearts from an Outside source (Rom. 5:5). It couldn't be conveyed by lectures; it can't be propagated by PowerPoint; it has to be communicated by a white hot flame burning in a human heart that has been deeply moved by the Holy Spirit (any willing human heart will do!).

You look, you stare, you wonder; you "behold the Lamb of God" on His cross. Takes time--you'll be doing it right on into eternity.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 5, 2004.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."
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