Christ's Cry ~ Covenant Love!
Recently in preparing a message for a group of men I was praying and asking the Lord about what was on HIS heart to share. I wanted us who say, "I love Jesus" to align ourselves with what was really important to Him. While praying, I was lead to John 17. There you find the prayer of Christ before His betrayal and trial. Christ agonizing somewhere before entering or in the garden is the picture. Oh think of the intensity of what is happening in the passage. Here we find the prayer of petition of what is very important to Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is written, in knowing Jesus Christ and God the Father as one, is to know eternal life. (John 17:3). Our Lord’s petition was to intercede for those who walked with Him and believed and also for those who would believe the disciples, which would include us. The heart beat of Christ’s intercession was that we would have eternal life, know eternal life by the revelation of the love of God and the perfect covenant unity that existed between Christ and the Father. Jesus prayed that we would walk in this kind of covenant love and unity. There isn’t true unity without this kind of love. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends," was said right before this scene in John 17. (John 15:13). Covenant love and unity among those we walk with in Christendom was our Lord’s CRY!
However, in this ministry work, and in working within the Church, I find that very few are taught or even believe this truth. Relational brokenness is at an all-time high and covenant love; true loyalties are at an all-time low. Divorce is rampant in the Church as it is in the world. Churchgoers believe they are free to walk in and out of people’s lives. I have recently seen life-long friends and marriages end. This breaks the heart of Jesus. We are not really learning in our homes or in the Church the depth of Jesus’ covenant keeping power. We must return to the Lord and promote relational healing and embrace Christ’s prayer in John 17 by embracing true unity that dies to selfishness. This means we are going to have to be a promise keeper of God’s love one towards another. We must turn away from having broken relationships. Do you have anyone in your past that you are not at peace with? (Matt. 5:22-24, 18:15, Rom. 12:18, Heb 12:14). I find that many who have trouble with commitment in relationships, have brokenness in their parental relationships, and with authority figures. It will not go well with us in life if we continue to violate the 5th commandment. (Ex. 20:12, Eph. 6:1-3).
Paul summed up ALL the law by this one word – LOVE. "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" Galatians 5:14 "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10 We can only arrive at such a fulfillment of Christ’s prayer by living in prayer ourselves and by embracing covenant love where we die to ourselves by serving God and others. We cannot continue cutting ourselves off from one another and bringing harm. Are you a bridge burner, or a reconciler? Oh to know HIM, redeemer, who is eternal life. This must be the cry of our life. (Read Phil. 3:7-15).
We can only be empowered by God’s grace to walk out covenant love when we are TRULY IN LOVE with Jesus and see how important this is to His holy meek heart. "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is (perfect, covenant keeping, blameless) loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9. I would also add, God is looking for a humble people who demonstrate their love for Him by how they really have perfect hearts of loyalty towards those we call our friends – statements like "till death do us part" and "no greater love," lived out. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 John 4:20-21. This is maturing Christianity; THINK ABOUT IT. (See Matthew 25:40).