October 27, 2017
John 15:12-14 - (Jesus said) "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you."
In January of 1978, Florida newspapers carried the story of James Michael Harper of Tampa.
Harper was playing with his puppy on a train trestle over the Hillsborough River. The puppy got loose and Harper saw a train coming. He was determined to save his dog. The dog was saved, but the train ran over Harper. No, he didn't die, but he lost both legs -- for a puppy.
What kind of love would motivate a boy to run the risk of dying so a puppy might live? Would you do it? Be honest. Would you do it? No, of course you wouldn't. If you had been there, you would have held Harper back. We know that no dog, no matter how well trained, no matter how pure his bloodlines, is worth the legs or life of a boy. But Harper didn't see it that way. That's because he loved with what I call a ruthless love.
Ruthless love may be a new concept to you.
We can understand motherly love that makes endless sacrifices. We can comprehend a soldier's willingness to sacrifice for his country. But to die for a dog? That's hard for us to grasp. That kind of love is ruthless.
• Ruthless love sweeps to the side anything and everything that stands in the way of completion.
• Ruthless love doesn't count cost, ask questions, or consider consequences.
• Ruthless love is single-minded in its purpose and cannot be diverted in its direction.
Would you like to know more about ruthless love? Listen to the words Paul wrote to the church in Rome: "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us'"(Romans 5:8).
That's ruthless love. After the first six days of creation, our perfect God did a survey and saw everything He had made was, well, perfect. The trees were perfect. The fish were perfect. The birds were perfect. The reptiles were perfect. The people were perfect. There was no asthma, cancer, colds, coughs, plague, or malaria. There were no tears, sadness, loneliness, depression, or death. There were no oil spills, terrorists, child pornographers, drug dealers, floods, or flat tires. All was as it was supposed to be, and God's verdict: it was all very, "very good" (see Genesis 1:31).
And then we messed up everything and sinned. It was an act of supreme disobedience and should have been punished with a supreme punishment. Instead of destroying our race at that moment, the Lord decided to send His Son to pay the ransom price for our souls. That was ruthless love.
Read through the Gospels and you will see Jesus, on every page, showing ruthless love. He becomes friend to the lonely and healer to those who are sick. He is educator, miracle worker, and Savior.
The offering of His life on the cross is ruthless love, which offers the life of God's Son to procure forgiveness for the guilty. It is this ruthless love that saves our souls.
THE PRAYER: Lord, grant that I may be blessed with a love which, as much as I am able, reflects the ruthless love Jesus has shown to me. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries