Jesus left earth long before we got here. And despite His alleged appearances over the years, none of us have seen Him. So how can we love someone whom we have never met? Jesus addressed this issue the night before He died.
He promised that He would return in the form of His Spirit to live with us forever. So in one sense Jesus isn’t gone, for He lives within us by the third person of the Trinity (John 14:16-19). The Spirit of Christ unites us to Jesus, opening our ears to hear His voice when we read Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) and helping us pray by praying alongside us “with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Romans 8:26).
Besides this Spirit-led communication, there is another, often overlooked way that we may love Jesus now. He told us that when we serve others we are also loving Him, for He personally receives every meal and cup of water, every open home, and every serving hand offered to “the least of these my brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25:34-40). Serving the poverty-stricken person before us is not as appealing as expressing our love directly to Jesus, but He assures us that it counts the same.
When the bubonic plague came to Wittenberg, Germany in 1527, many frightened pastors wanted to flee for their lives. But Martin Luther ordered them to remain in the city and care for the dying. He encouraged them with these words: “If you wish to serve Christ and to wait on Him, very well, you have your sick neighbor close at hand. Go to him and serve him, and you will surely find Christ in him . . . whoever wants to serve Christ in person would surely serve his neighbor as well.”
We don’t merely love Jesus and our neighbor, but we love Jesus by loving our neighbor.
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”