Christians and many others are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter of love. They may even have heard how the details about love in that chapter were exhibited in the life of the Lord Jesus. In this book, Phil Ryken takes each of these details, links each to an incident involving or a saying by Jesus, and gives a chapter to each in which he considers how Jesus exemplified that detail. The result is an enlarged appreciation of the love of Jesus and a challenging set of reasons why each of his followers should imitate him in the life of love.
Among the list of issues explained, Ryken looks at how Jesus was never irritable, was always patient, was not self-seeking, was forgiving, and was always loyal. The author describes for his readers beautiful aspects of the Saviour’s love which should enable us to admire his attractiveness increasingly as we live day-by-day in a society which speaks a lot about love but dilutes it in the process.
Of course, the challenge for us is to walk in love as Christ loved us (Eph. 5:1). Love caused Jesus to serve his people sacrificially and, as the author reminds us, there are millions of ways to serve, if only we are willing. He goes on, ‘Do not think that service is a job for someone else rather than a calling for you, because the moment you say this, you are claiming to be greater than your Lord.’
Such is the love of Jesus that we can never be separated from it. Among the several real-life illustrations in the book, I appreciated the comment of a dying woman to her young pastor who was trying to comfort her in what he regarded as her hour of need: ‘God bless you, young man. There’s nothing to be scared about. I’m just going to cross over Jordan in a few hours, and my Father owns the land on both sides of the river.’ She had realised that the love of Jesus will never fail and so she encouraged in a loving way the pastor who was lovingly concerned about her.
Ryken has written or edited over thirty books. I have always profited from the ones by him that I have read. This volume is no exception, and in it he deals very well with an exceptional subject. You would enjoy reading it and I suspect your life would be affected by doing so.