Love Contagion

Mark 6:53-56

Has anyone yet told you they loved you today?  We thought so.  Maybe you just got done looking at porn, maybe you just got done looking at divorce papers.  Maybe you just got off a double shift, maybe you just got off a bar stool.  Whether you’re beginning your day or wishing it all would end, before you close your eyes, we want you to know we love you.  

It’s crazy to think God would love any of us, if you don’t think it’s crazy, then you’re probably out of touch with yourself.  Most people don’t realize how much God loves them, just as they are.  They think God could love, would love, might possibly love, a certain version of themselves, but that’s where most get it wrong.  God doesn’t love the good you, he loves the awful you

Stick that in your Twitter feed and smoke it.

It’s easy to read a passage of the Bible like this and think Jesus just healed a bunch of people.  He didn’t just heal a bunch of people, he loved a bunch of people, who didn’t deserve it, who woke up that morning in the arms of another lover or hungover with a headache or wallowing in their own sickness and self-pity or still wrecked by the words a parent shouted at them two days before.  In their wildest dreams they never thought that day they’d meet a God who loved them.

Do you?

Words are more powerful than sight, just in case you think words are cheap.  They aren’t.  If my son came to me covered in mud and filth, because he wrecked his life, the sight of him wouldn’t decrease my love for him, because I love him from my heart, not from my pupils.  If anything, the more needy he becomes, the more I love him!  When God tells you he loves you, his words aren’t cheap.  He sees you in your desperate state and runs to you with a love song in his heart.

You could be going through hell, but when someone tells you they love you, it fortifies you, doesn’t it?  When they look at you, knowing full well what you are and what you’ve done and yet still say, “I love you,” it makes you stand up just a little taller, because you know you can get through it.

We live in a time when there’s not a whole lot of lovin’ going on.  We’re a far cry from loving the people around us like they did on the shores of Gennesaret.  “And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was” (Mark 6:54-55).  They physically picked up the outcast and marginalized and diseased and carried them to Jesus.  What a beautiful picture of love!

Who can you carry to the love of Jesus today?  And I mean today.  You are surrounded by many people who didn’t get to hear, “I love you” from anyone yet today, or maybe in a long time.  If you recognize Jesus, can you bring someone to his love?  

Maybe it’s someone who is from a different political party.  Maybe it’s someone who’s been sick.  Maybe it’s someone of a different race.  Maybe it’s someone who’s been making your life hard.  Maybe it’s someone you’ve been taking for granted.  Who can you carry to Jesus today?

How?  Tell them you love them.  That’s all you need to do, because if the love of Christ lives in you, then you share it by opening your heart (and mouth) to someone in need.

In his new book Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortland points to a wonderful truth about Jesus Christ.  It helps to understand the Old Testament background of clean and unclean.  All life was divided up into these two categories and if you came into contact with something unclean, then you would become unclean, too.  You would be morally impure, cut off from God and other people.  That’s why this story is so shocking, because people are running around recklessly, touching the unclean sick and bringing them to Jesus, so he can lay his hands on them.  

But instead of furthering the spread of uncleanness, there’s healing!  “And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment.  And as many as touched it were made well.” (Mark 6:56).  You see, Jesus had his own contagion to spread, a love contagion.  Whoever touched him became holy.  Whoever touched him received love.  Whoever touched him received healing.  

“But I can’t heal anyone!” you say.  I disagree, for you can love them!  You can help spread the contagion of love, which will free the oppressed, bring hope to the despairing, and lift the burden of those heavy with life.  

“There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).  This does NOT mean that fear will kill love; rather, it means love will kill fear.  So you can’t wait for fear to leave before you love someone, you have to love them first.  The only way to eradicate fear is with love, and that puts all of us on the hook, for where else does love come from?  You have the contagion in your heart and it is yours to spread.  If you don’t love those around you, then no one else will.

Our world today is filled with uncertainty and fear.  Perhaps some politicians are using this to their advantage to get you to vote for them.  But politicians do not drive out fear, love does.  

Your love does.

Beloved, the world needs your love.  People on bar stools, people going through a divorce, people struggling with addiction, people wrecked by dysfunction.  

So we implore you, go spread the love contagion today. 

 The Breakdown

  1. What version of you do you think God loves most?  Do you know he loves the true you?
  2. Did you think of anyone you can “carry” to Jesus today?  
  3. How can you spread the love contagion this week?

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