Your Love is Relentless: Jesus and His Relentless, Undeterred Love for Us

Posted: March 17, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 13:22-30 — Let’s spend a couple of days here because there is much here. Today let’s talk about relentlessness.

This is one of those passages where sometimes you need to notice the little things. There is one verse at the beginning of the passage that we need to take notice of. At Luke 13:22, Luke tells us that “Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He went, pressing on toward Jerusalem.” Sometimes, we skip right over that verse as if it is just background information, in and of itself not profound. It is often that way with the Bible. When you read through it maybe multiple times in a lifetime and different things strike as important at different times as you mature as a Christian. Today, when reading through this passage, 13:22 hit me as being significant. Jesus preaching and teaching but yet pressing toward Jerusalem. There are two things that I think this verse teaches us about Jesus that we need to know. First, Jesus made it his point to preach to us about the kingdom of heaven. Second, Jesus never let anything keep Him from His ultimate purpose. The ultimate thing that we see is relentless pursuit.

It reminds me of my pursuit of my wife. We were both coming out of divorces. I was a year or two ahead of her in that process. She was still gun shy about relationships and she was not at all impressed at first with my looks and charms and wit. Not as much as I was anyway! However, after years of dating and usually getting ladies to go out with me with relative ease, Elena shocked me. She turned me down at first. She did not want to date me. Challenge accepted! I took it as a challenge at that point. I was relentless in the pursuit of getting her to change her mind. Ultimately, I am glad I was. She became my wife and the impact she has had on my life is immeasurable. Thank God I was relentless. God is the same way about us all. He is relentless. He is in pursuit of us. He sent His Son in pursuit of us. He sent His Son to be with us and among us and to die for us. God’s pursuit of us is of immeasurable impact when we finally accept Christ and what He has done for us.

Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He went. Jesus was a missionary by our definitions. He did not sit behind the four walls of a synagogue or the Temple and wait for people to come to Him. He was out there among the people everyday. I read somewhere that 95% of what Jesus says in the Gospels is outside the synagogues or the Temple. Jesus was out there. He was healing. He was teaching. He was preaching. He was mentoring. He was discipling. He was out in the streets. He was out there dealing with the messes of peoples lives and he was healing them. Jesus was the ultimate missionary. He was off the couch. He was living out the mission. He had compassion for all He met. He was pursuing us. It shows us how relentless God’s pursuit is of us. From the time the first sin is committed in the Garden of Eden, God began pursuing us. God asks in Genesis 3:9, “where are you?”. Although God knew where Adam was, He wanted Adam to know that He was pursuing Him. God’s love for us is so great that He relentlessly pursues us in all of our messed up sin-filled lives. He is out there in the streets with us. He wants us to come to know Him and to know about the kingdom of heaven. Whenever you feel like God is not there, remember this verse. Jesus went through the towns and villages. He did not bypass them. He did not take the Jerusalem Expressway. He went through the towns and villages. He will pursue you. He will come to meet you where you are.

To us as Christ followers, too, it is a challenge that we must be out there too. We must not sit behind our pretty little church buildings and bemoan that the world is going to hell. Jesus got out there and taught and healed. We should do no less ourselves. We should be engaging the culture and teaching them of Jesus rather than condemning what is going wrong with the world. It was in the movie, “American President” that Michael Douglas said that in the absence of true leadership the people will follow anyone who steps up. In the absence of our being out in the streets teaching and engaging the culture with Jesus’ love, the people will pursue the prevailing wind that we are our own gods and we must do whatever feels good and right to ourselves. We must engage them about biblical approaches to life in loving and compassionate ways out in the streets.

The second thing that you have to notice about this verse is that it is the second time Luke reminds us that Jesus’ goal was to get to Jerusalem. Jesus knew what He ultimate mission was and was never deterred from it. He was fully submitted to His Father in heaven as to what the goal was here. He was to die on the cross as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. He was to go there and take on God’s wrath for sin in our place. He was to be the sacrificial lamb for us that finally and permanently gives a way to be reconciled to God. His ultimate goal was always to do this. From his birth into the flesh 33 years earlier, this was the goal. This was the plan. No that is obedience to the Father my friends. Having lived 33 years in the flesh of a human body, Jesus was already familiar with physical pain. He knew what was about to happen to Him there. He knew He would make enemies there. He knew that He would be beaten to within an inch of his fleshly life and then He would be nailed to the cross and suffer 9 hours more of excruciating slow suffocation and other physical pains. He was relentless in the pursuit. He would not be deterred from this ultimate goal that is the seminole moment in human history. All things are measured as to before and after the cross. History turns on this moment at the cross. It was necessary and Jesus knew it, pursued it, and accomplished it. Relentless pursuit.

Thank God that you never give up on us Lord. Thank you that you from the first commission of sin began to relentlessly pursue us and that you sent your son as your indication to us that you will stop at nothing to reconcile us to your side. You love us that much. You have relentless love for us. You pursue us out in the streets in all our mess. Your goal is to restore us to you. Thank you for that relentless love.

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