4th Sunday after the Epiphany
Texts: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13;
Luke 4:21-30; Jer. 1:4-10
MY LOVE CAN BE JESUS' LOVE
[This sermon was given extemporaneously with the following
Paul J. Nuechterlein
Show opening comments by Virgil Gulker, Kids Hope USA training
with, 'Jesus can't be with that child, you can.'
One of the most immediate and common questions about the Kids
is: "How can a church do a ministry in a public school."
Answer: "We are there not to speak the love of Jesus but to be
love of Jesus."
1 Corinthians 13:1: "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and
but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
1 John 3:18: "Little children, let us love, not in word or
in truth and action."
Speaking the love of Jesus is not allowed in public schools.
the love of Jesus is ... and maybe that's the better part,
I'm excited about being a Kids Hope mentor, but I'm also a bit
it is an awesome responsibility to be the love of
Jesus to an at-risk
first grader. I'm not just there to show my love. I'm there to
love. What does that mean?
I'll need the prayers of my prayer partner, and all of you, to
love be Jesus' love.
What stands in the way? How can my love stand against Jesus
Valentine's Day around the corner: Jesus love vs. Cultural,
Other-centered vs. self-centered
Life-giving vs. Death-fearing
Out-reaching vs. In-closing
Jesus love vs. Cultural, "romantic" love: Other-centered vs.
Biggest jolt into being other-centered: bringing home that
Can you imagine beforehand how much that little person needs
Difference between special gifts on special occasions and
How much are the special gifts in order to get what we want?
To get our
needs filled? Many greeting cards: 'I love what you do for
Every love: dishes, laundry, meals, dirty diapers, walking
the baby in
the middle of night. (Gifts nice, too -- or Pastor Paul's in
Love is patient, kind; not envious or boastful or arrogant or
does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or
resentful; it does
not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
Jesus love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
all things. Love never ends. Romantic love does none of these
Jesus love vs. Cultural, "romantic" love: Life-giving vs.
Valentine card, part 2: 'I can't live without you.' Is this
filled with life or afraid of death?
Very difficult to talk about this aspect of Jesus love because
loss is painful. Have you ever tried to talk about it with
How did that go? Can you imagine your love spilling out to
when you die and leave your spouse behind?
Best example: John 11, the Raising of Lazurus
Verse 33: "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came
with her also
weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply
moved." The words
for "greatly disturbed and moved" everywhere else are
translated in terms
of anger. Even in translating we find it hard that Jesus'
love is not death-fearing.
Verse 35: "Jesus began to weep." Death is sad, painful, but
to be feared.
Jesus raises Lazarus after this prayer: "Father, I thank you
heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said
this for the
sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe
that you sent
me." For the sake of the crowd, not even for Lazarus' sake.
is a life-giving love that spills out to many. Resurrection.
Brings us to our last feature of Jesus love:
Jesus love vs. Cultural, "romantic" love: Out-reaching vs.
Example of clash: this morning's gospel. Jesus' hometown folks
to hear about a love that reaches out.
Our culture, if it reaches out at all, wants to reach out with
to its enemies. With its love, it closes ranks to protect
How far does Jesus love reach out? In two weeks we'll hear
from Luke 6:
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to
hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse
Jesus love shows us God's love. The Gospel summed up in Romans
if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through
the death of
his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be
Kids Hope USA mentoring, surrounded by the prayers of many, help
a love that is other-centered, life-giving, and out-reaching.
are many other opportunities -- what are they?
And how can we be so bold as to claim this Jesus-love for our
use? By the
promise of the Holy Spirit in our baptisms: that we receive that
forgiveness as God's children to share with one another. "Little
let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action."
Delivered at Emmaus Lutheran,
Racine, WI, January 27-28, 2001