Today, I am reading from a new book by John Piper, called Pierced By the Word. The first reading deals with our definition of love and how it falls short when we try to apply it to God’s love for us.
As is his custom, Piper remains on course about God’s first passion being for God. Therefore, His love for us must keep that in the focus. So, God’s love for us is not defined by Him “making much of us,” as the world defines love. God’s love for us “keeps God at the center.”
“God’s love labors and suffers to break our bondage to the idol of self and focus our affections on the treasure of God.” The Biblical example given is that of the time when Lazarus was sick and Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. The are important discrepancies in the versions in John 11:1-6.
Jesus purposefully waited two more days after the message came to him! And the correct translations say this: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” Note the “so.” Some translations render it “yet,” and The Message says “but oddly.”
Piper believes that Jesus waited because he loved them so much. The explanation is in verse 4, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Oh, how selfish God must be to put them through that! How dare he! That is what today’s world would say to that. But today’s world has little understanding of what “Love Eternal” really is.
“Let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct Him how He should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you need to do to help people see and savor the glory of God in Christ forever and ever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God.”