Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah
cl chap. 29 ¶1-10 (30 min.)
“To Know the Love of the Christ”
1-3. (a) What moved Jesus to want to be like his Father? (b) What facets of Jesus’ love will we examine?
HAVE you ever seen a little boy trying to be like his father? The son may imitate the way his father walks, talks, or acts. In time, the boy may even absorb his father’s moral and spiritual values. Yes, the love and admiration that a son feels for a loving father moves the boy to want to be like his dad.
2 What about the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father? “I love the Father,” Jesus said on one occasion. (John 14:31) No one can possibly love Jehovah more than this Son, who was with the Father long before any other creatures came into existence. That love moved this devoted Son to want to be like his Father.—John 14:9.
John 14:31 But for the world to know that I love the Father, I am doing just as the Father has commanded me to do. Get up, let us go from here.
John 14:9 Jesus said to him: “Even after I have been with you men for such a long time, Philip, have you not come to know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
3 In earlier chapters of this book, we discussed how Jesus perfectly imitated Jehovah’s power, justice, and wisdom. How, though, did Jesus reflect his Father’s love? Let us examine three facets of Jesus’ love—his self-sacrificing spirit, his tender compassion, and his willingness to forgive.
“No One Has Love Greater Than This”
4. How did Jesus set the greatest human example of self-sacrificing love?
4 Jesus set an outstanding example of self-sacrificing love. Self-sacrifice involves unselfishly putting the needs and concerns of others ahead of our own. How did Jesus demonstrate such love? He himself explained: “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus willingly gave his perfect life for us. It was the greatest expression of love ever made by any human. But Jesus showed self-sacrificing love in other ways as well.
John 15:13 No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his life in behalf of his friends.
5. Why was leaving the heavens a loving sacrifice on the part of God’s only-begotten Son?
5 In his prehuman existence, the only-begotten Son of God had a privileged and exalted position in the heavens. He had intimate association with Jehovah and with multitudes of spirit creatures. Despite these personal advantages, this dear Son “emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7) He willingly came to live among sinful humans in a world “lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Was that not a loving sacrifice on the part of God’s Son?
Philippians 2:7 No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and became human.
1 John 5:19 We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.
6, 7. (a) In what ways did Jesus show self-sacrificing love during his earthly ministry? (b) What touching example of unselfish love is recorded at John 19:25-27?
6 Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus showed self-sacrificing love in various ways. He was totally unselfish. He was so absorbed in his ministry that he sacrificed normal comforts to which humans are accustomed. “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have roosts,” he said, “but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.” (Matthew 8:20) Being a skilled carpenter, Jesus could have taken some time off to build a comfortable home for himself or to make beautiful furniture to sell so that he would have had some extra money. But he did not use his skills to gain material things.
Matthew 8:20 But Jesus said to him: “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.”
7 A truly touching example of Jesus’ self-sacrificing love is recorded at John 19:25-27. Imagine the many things that must have occupied the mind and heart of Jesus on the afternoon of his death. As he suffered on the stake, he was concerned about his disciples, the preaching work, and especially his integrity and how it would reflect on his Father’s name. Really, the entire future of mankind rested on his shoulders! Yet, just moments before he died, Jesus also showed concern for his mother, Mary, who was apparently a widow by then. Jesus asked the apostle John to look after Mary as if she were John’s own mother, and the apostle thereafter took Mary to his home. Jesus thus arranged for the physical and spiritual care of his mother. What a tender expression of unselfish love!
John 19:25-27 By the torture stake of Jesus, however, there were standing his mother and his mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Cloʹpas and Mary Magʹda•lene. 26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother: “Woman, see! Your son!” 27 Next he said to the disciple: “See! Your mother!” And from that hour on, the disciple took her into his own home.
“He Was Moved With Pity”
8. What is the meaning of the Greek word that the Bible uses to describe the compassion of Jesus?
8 Like his Father, Jesus was compassionate. The Scriptures describe Jesus as one who reached out to those in distress because he was deeply moved. To describe the compassion of Jesus, the Bible uses a Greek word that is rendered “moved with pity.” Says one scholar: “It describes . . . an emotion which moves a man to the very depths of his being. It is the strongest word in Greek for the feeling of compassion.” Consider some situations in which Jesus was moved by a deep compassion that compelled him to act.
9, 10. (a) What circumstances caused Jesus and his apostles to seek out a quiet place? (b) When his privacy was disturbed by a crowd, how did Jesus react, and why?
9 Moved to respond to spiritual needs. The account at Mark 6:30-34 shows what principally moved Jesus to express his pity. Picture the scene. The apostles were excited, for they had just completed an extensive preaching tour. They returned to Jesus and eagerly reported all that they had seen and heard. But a large crowd gathered, leaving Jesus and his apostles no time even to eat. Ever observant, Jesus noticed that the apostles were tired. “Come, you yourselves, privately into a lonely place and rest up a bit,” he told them. Boarding a boat, they sailed across the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee to a quiet place. But the crowd saw them leave. Others also heard about it. All of these ran along the northern shoreline and arrived on the other side ahead of the boat!
Mark 6:30-34 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all the things they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them: “Come, you yourselves, privately into an isolated place and rest up a little.” For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure time even to eat a meal. 32 So they set off in the boat for an isolated place to be by themselves. 33 But people saw them going and many got to know it, and from all the cities they ran together on foot and got there ahead of them. 34 Well, on getting out, he saw a large crowd, and he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.
10 Was Jesus upset that his privacy was disturbed? Not at all! His heart was touched by the sight of this crowd, numbering in the thousands, who awaited him. Mark wrote: “He saw a great crowd, but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.” Jesus saw these people as individuals having spiritual needs. They were like sheep straying helplessly, having no shepherd to guide or protect them. Jesus knew that the common people were neglected by the coldhearted religious leaders, who were supposed to be caring shepherds. (John 7:47-49) His heart went out to the people, so he began teaching them “about the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:11) Notice that Jesus was moved with pity for the people even before seeing their reaction to what he would teach. In other words, tender compassion was, not the result of his teaching the crowd, but rather the motive for his doing so.
John 7:47-49 In turn the Pharisees answered: “You have not been misled also, have you? 48 Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he? 49 But this crowd who do not know the Law are accursed people.”
Luke 9:11 But the crowds, getting to know it, followed him. And he received them kindly and began to speak to them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those needing a cure.
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