JESUS CHRIST is our ULTIMATE MODEL of TANGIBLE LOVE: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9)
The above verse is one of the greatest declarative statements made by Apostle Paul in his entire second letter to the church at Corinth. Here, Paul is actually painting a glorious portrait of the most generous person who ever walked on the face of this earth: Jesus Christ. How generous was our Lord Jesus Christ? He was so generous that He gave up all He had for our sakes that we through His poverty might become eternally rich. The theologian Moorehead in his classic book "Acts to Ephesians" gives us the following description about Jesus: "He was rich in possessions, power, homage, fellowship, happiness. He became poor in station, circumstances; in His relations with men…He gave Himself”.
The above verse also addresses the pre-existence of our Lord Jesus before He came into our world. When was Jesus rich? He was rich in a bygone eternity, dwelling with the Father in the courts of heaven. However, He became poor for our sakes, and we can see his poverty during His earthly journey starting from his birth in Bethlehem, his childhood in Nazareth, and his ministry that ended through Gethsemane at Golgotha. Jesus was born poor and lived as a homeless person, reflected by his own statement: "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" (Matt. 8:20).
So, we can safely infer that Jesus Christ is the ultimate model of tangible love ever displayed in this world. What all did Jesus give up to show so great a love for us?
- Jesus left His eternal heavenly Father for over 33.5 years to live among His own people who rejected Him ultimately in spite of everything good that He had done for them. "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). In fact, "He (was) despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).
- Jesus left the angelic hosts, and all the redeemed saints who were worshiping Him, glorifying Him, and having fellowship with Him prior to His incarnation.
- Jesus left His heavenly abode that far exceeded in splendor, majesty, and comfort the physical environment of His earthly life.
- Jesus left His glorious body that had no limitations to take on a physical body subject to fatigue, aches, pains and temptations, that was revealed through the following statement: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15)
- Jesus gave up His heavenly glory and came to earth to live as a man and to suffer and die on our behalf as the supreme sacrifice for our sins. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). The supreme example of sacrificial love is seen in Jesus hanging on the cross dying a slow death for us!