A Shrink Thinks

Jesus’s love

Jesus’s love
Source: Shutterstock
Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas Professor and Consultant in Psychiatry. Elder at Newcastle Reformed Evangelical Church.
28 January, 2023 4 min read

It is sometimes claimed that during his earthly ministry Jesus showed love only for his people, the elect. Is this correct? It seems wrong. After all, we read of Jesus exhorting his followers to love our enemies and reiterating the greatest commandments to love God and to love our neighbour and so on. So surely Jesus himself would have lived this way too?

We have surprisingly few examples where Jesus is described as expressing ‘love’ for others. In the synoptics the only example of Jesus being said to love someone is the rich young ruler (Mark 10:21), which is itself a problem for those who claim Jesus only loved his people.

In John we have more examples. Lazarus was the one whom Jesus loved (11:3) and he also loved his sisters Mary and Martha (11:5) and most famously there was the one disciple whom we are told Jesus loved (13:23, etc.).

John tells us Jesus had loved his own during his earthly ministry (13:1) and his washing their feet showed the extent of his love for them.

Then during the subsequent discourse in the upper room and the prayer which followed (John 14–17), Jesus repeatedly tells his disciples of his love for them and his Father. Such love reached its climax at Calvary.

New: the ET podcast!