A Lesson from Apostle Paul for Loving Own People: The Love That Gives Life
Imagine a father who has dearly sons and daughters, beautiful home, and bunch of lovely relatives. Unfortunately, he had committed a crime that led him to ‘hang till death’ capital punishment. The date is fixed, and the place to hang is determined. Surprisingly, there comes a well-educated unmarried man and appeals sincerely to the authority saying, “Please let him go and live with his family. He has lovely children, relatives, and beautiful home. Hang me in place of him. I am ready to die in his place, if you can release him!”
The only possibility of this guy’s sacrificial love is either he is crazy or he meant what he said. However, the trait of educated people is they don’t mess around in life. This illustration helps me somehow to understand the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 9. He says, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel….” (Rom. 9:2-4a). Paul’s passionate love for the welfare of his own people is not only preaching and teaching the salvation message to them but even to lose his own life, if it means salvation for his people!
The way Apostle Paul penned his love for his own people makes me stare and wonder why such an eminent and well-educated man would dare to say such a brave statement as he did! But no wonder when love compels, people don’t wait for a good opportune time. They do what is best at that moment. Love demands all in all! ‘All in all’ includes giving life, if needed.
Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13). It was the love that caused the Son of God to come down on earth to save the wretched sinners. And it was that love that led Him to have a shameful death on the cross to pay the penalty of sin for the good of mankind (cf. Rom. 5:8).
I believe Apostle Paul understood what it means to be loving people by the example that Jesus left behind. His passionate love for the welfare of his people compelled him to pay any cost; even his life, if necessary. How is your love for your people? How is your love for the people of God? How is your love for the human beings? Do you have the love that gives life? May the Lord help us to have the kind of love worth having it!