During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
Jesus had been speaking to these people a while, sharing what He came to earth to share, all that stuff. But this passage right here makes it clear that Jesus cared about the people He was talking to. He wasn’t there just to shove the Truth in their face and get His work done. Underneath the Truth He gave them was love. Loving them- loving us- was His work.
This reminds me of a part of my favorite book, The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, which is a true account of the pastor’s inner-city ministry to drug addicts, prostitutes, gang fighters, and runaways. (This book was the last push that made me want to work with these kinda people, just saying.) I’d love to have the book right now so I would not screw up this conveyenceness of information, buuuuut I’ll work with what I’ve got.
At one point in the book, Wilkerson has a dream that he is preaching a sermon to a bunch of kids in this church. And by kids, I mean drug addicts and prostitutes and all those kinds of people. People far from God who honestly don’t care about his ministry at all. While he’s preaching, these people are in the pews getting drunk, fighting, making a mess of the church, and having sex. Like, in the pew. While he’s preaching about Jesus.
Wilkerson’s first response was to want to yell at them all to stop, and to tell them they were horrible people for treating God with no respect. But then he heard God speak to him. And all God said was, “Just love them.”
As in, “Who cares what you’re preaching if you don’t have love for them! Jesus had love for who he spoke to. Love like Jesus loved.”
As in, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)
As in, “Do not be proud, but be willing to to associate with people of low position.” (Romans 12:16)
As in, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
I think you get the point.