Kristi and I are still basking in the delightful glow of our son’s wedding. This picture shows David carrying Brianne into the reception!
Have you ever thought about your relationship with Jesus as being like “falling in love”? That may seem like infatuation or an inappropriate way to think of our relationship with God. But the Apostle Paul says that God invites us into an intimate love relationship like that of a bride and a groom (e.g., Ephesians 5:25, 32).
So, as I said in my message at David and Brianne’s wedding, the Song of Songs isn’t just a romantic book for husbands and wives — it’s also an invitation to all of us for greater intimacy with Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom!
The Spirit of Christ comes to you right now, “leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills… like a graceful gazelle or a strong stag.” He comes right up close to where you live and he sings a love song to you: “Arise, my precious one, my lovely one, and come with me. See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.” (Song of Songs 2:8-12, paraphrased)
A Crazy Rabbi
In Jesus’ day rabbis were stuffy intellectuals, religious legalists, and elitist aristocrats. They looked down their noses at common people. “You’re a sinner!” was their attitude toward anyone who was struggling with a problem or not fitting in with their system of rules. It was a long, harsh winter until Jesus brought springtime and loved everyone with reckless abandon.
He shared Good News with the poor. He fed the hungry. He forgave prostitutes. He ate with sinners. He touched lepers. He opened his arms to children and to anyone who came to him like a child.
The religious people thought he was crazy! Love is like that. It takes risks. It’s willing to look foolish in order to bless another. Love is not only deliberate and sacrificial — it’s also affectionate. To give or receive love is something that we feel (not always, but normally) and if we don’t feel love then probably we’re emotionally wounded and need special ministry or counseling.
Jesus’ heart-felt love for us comes from his intimacy with God the Father. He could’ve built the most successful carpentry business in the world. He could’ve taken his teaching ministry to Athens and proved his ideas to be superior to Plato and Aristotle. He could’ve been Israel’s political and military Messiah to overthrow Rome and take over the world. But his great joy in life was loving God will all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and as he loved the Father who loved him he overflowed with that love for his neighbors (Mark 12:30-31).
Like the Pearl Merchant
Our Lord taught us to love in the same way. For instance, he said, “The kingdom of the heavens is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45).
What a strange pearl merchant Jesus describes. He sold all of his fine pearls — his whole business — just so he could have the one prize pearl he admired. That’s crazy! And that’s what Jesus did for God and for us: he gave up all his rights and privileges, even spilled out his blood, in order to forgive our sins and reconcile us to God.
Imagine being like this pearl merchant. You are so happy that you’ve found relationship with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God! This is the world’s most amazing pearl! In your joy you sell all of your other pearls so you can have Jesus in your heart and share him with others.
To “sell everything” for the Lord means that we re-organize our values, our life roles, and our calendars so that, as Paul says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
This is falling in love! This is the best life!