“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” Luke 6:40
In continuing to reflect upon Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain I am seeing more clearly that Jesus is calling His disciples to follow Him as He is making His way to the cross. In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus states that “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it.”
Such a life is lived out in a world that is hostile to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. How are disciples of Christ to respond to such a trying life? Jesus calls His disciples to respond with Agape, which is the love of God towards us demonstrated in the cross of Christ.
Such Agape is lived out on account of the preciousness of the object loved. It is not a response to our perception of what the object may be able to do for us. It is defined as the love of God towards us. God did not chose to love us on account of His belief that we might be able to do something for Him, but simply because we are precious to Him. As Paul writes to the Romans,
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:5-8)
He loved us and chose to reconcile us to Himself through the cross of Christ simply because He deemed us to be precious. We do not know why we are precious to Him, but we are and that fact brought the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross for us. On account of Christ’s great love for us we love Him and His people. We therefore exalt Him constantly in our lives. We exalt, or worship Him truly, as we approach Him as the crucified one. This is what it means for us to truly worship Him. Norman Grubb on page 55 of “The Law of Faith” puts it this way.
“The biggest challenge to faith in our day doesn’t come from atheists denying God but from believes diminishing Him — treating him with cosy familiarity, praying to Him as though He were our Old Pal Upstairs or singing choruses which portray Him as a well-meaning simpleton.”
Real worship recognises that the all-powerful Creator and Sustainer of the universe has deemed us to be precious and therefore He reconciled us to Himself even though we are unworthy of such love. He then calls us to love what He loves, even though the object loved is not worthy. We simply love because God has declared that person to be precious enough for the Son of the Living God to go to the cross in order to reconcile them to Himself. Such love is the fruit of the holy Spirit in us. It becomes in us the expression of the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel. It is this love that our broken world needs so desperately today.