I preached a few weeks ago from Ephesians 5 where Paul talks about loving your wife as Christ loved the church.  I have read this passage countless times.  I have counseled men to love their wives using this passage.  I have led several marriage Bible studies with Jill covering this passage.  I am embarrassed to say this, but I never really stopped to think about how Christ loved the church.  I always moved on to the rest of the passage, which is powerful in and of itself.  I have thought about the washing of water by the word, loving her as my own body, and the clear representation of Christ’s relationship with the church in our marriages.  But for some reason, I never really dug into how Christ loved the church.

So early one morning I did a quick skim of the gospel of John, asking the question, “How did Christ love the church?”  Here is some of what I found:

Jesus cleansed the Temple, purifying it from the sin that was so prevalent (chapters 1-2).

Jesus constantly directed the church’s attention to eternity (6:27).

Jesus was willing to lead through rejection (6:41ff).

Jesus was gracious (chapter 8).

Jesus was a shepherd (chapter 10).

Jesus served (chapter 13).

Jesus revealed the Father (14:7ff).

Jesus prayed for the church (chapter 17).

Jesus was strong in the face of criticism (chapter 18ff).

Jesus  was willing to be punished for the sins of the church (19:30).

Jesus forgave and lead into reconciliation (21:15).

I also thought about Philippians 2, the great demonstration of Jesus’ humility.

What an image of love, and this is just a first blush through one gospel.  I have so much to learn about how to love Jill, and she has been so patient with me as I learn.  I am grateful.  I am humbled.  Father, help me to love Jill as Christ loved the church.