Loving Jesus Without Conditions
By Rev. Kristen Lawson
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” – John 12:13
As Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on this donkey, the people waved palm branches and cried out Hosanna; a triumphant entry due to an emperor or the welcome of a Saviour. The Jewish people were expecting Jesus to come in and march forth with lightning and trumpets and a whirlwind. The salvation they were expecting had arrows and swords and the blood of their enemies. It didn’t involve the blood of the Saviour.
When I was younger, on staff at a missions base, one of the leaders there used to talk about being offended with God. He used to encourage people to search their hearts to see if they had unspoken conditions to loving Jesus.
Did they love Jesus, no matter what happened?
If the sick person they prayed for still died, did love for Jesus waver because God didn’t do what we thought He ought to do?
If the person we love experienced crisis, trauma, or tragedy; did our love for and trust of Jesus change?
If we experienced crisis, trauma, or tragedy; was our love and trust for Jesus shaken?
Did we see God as the source of our sorrow or the One whose sorrow was our own, and who suffered with and for us, and whose death would impart healing & life in the face of sickness & death?
And he encouraged us, more than anything, to pray to be unoffended by Jesus’ leadership in our lives and in the world. It’s a prayer I’ve spent decades praying. That I might love Jesus for who He is, not who I think He should be. That I might love Jesus for what He does, without the conditions of Him doing what I want Him to do.
Though that leader used words like offense, what he was describing is basically what happened that Palm Sunday so long ago. Those who worshipped Jesus only did so until He disappointed them.
Sometimes, when we pray for something and believe for something and desperately need something; and it doesn’t happen, we risk becoming offended with God. We risk walking away from who God is because of our disappointment and pain.
It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to be hurt and in pain. It’s even okay to be angry. But don’t walk away from the God who suffers and dies; bearing the pain, sickness, and grief of humanity in His own broken body on the cross because of it.
Today, may the reminder that God is with you be animated by who Jesus is, not who you want Jesus to be.
Lord Jesus, help me to love you for who you are, not who I think you should be. Guide me today to love you for what you do, without conditions, Amen.
Where did you experience the love of God today?
Comment below or use a journal to record how God is with you each day of this journey.