The Different Phases of the Love of Christ
Mark 3:31-35
There came then his brothers and his mother, and, standing without, sent to him, calling him.…

And so it is, my brethren. The love of Christ is represented to us in the text as comprising within itself all those affections which endear our homes to us, and which, being all derived from His fulness, are parted in a fragmentary state among the various relationships of human life. Consider the manifoldness of aspect under which this love is represented to us. Christ Himself is represented to us under manifold aspects — each aspect suitable and satisfying to some want of the human mind. There are four portraitures of Christ — four gospels; and why? Because the subject to be apprehended is infinitely grand, and the mind's capabilities of apprehension limited. It is with the mind as with the eye. If an object be real and substantial, the eye does not take it in, in its integrity, by viewing it on one side only. Thus it is with a house or other building. You survey it from a point at which only one side is turned towards you. It presents certain features, a certain arrangement of buttress and arch, doorway and window. This, however, is but a superficial acquaintance with it. Go round, and view another side. You discover there fresh designs of architectural beauty, or fresh adaptations to the convenience of the inmates. And now a third side. It is in shade and frowns — leaving altogether an impression on the mind, totally different from that upon whose white marble the sunlight was sparkling. When you have seen the fourth side, you have seen all: your impression is complete — it is made up of various elements, but all combine to form one whole. Now the mind resembles the eye. It can only become acquainted with objects — especially with large and comprehensive objects — piecemeal. It cannot gain the whole truth from one survey, without planting itself at different standing points. Even so it will help us to realize the love of Christ, if we consider one by one its various elements, those bright lines which enter into its composition.

I. What is the distinguishing trait of a BROTHER'S LOVE. The idea is not congeniality of tastes in every respect, but active support in all the struggles and difficulties of life. This, then, is the first phase of the love which is in Christ — the love of active support.

II. "The same is MY SISTER." A love remarkable for its tenderness and delicacy — different from that entertained towards a brother. This, then, is the second phase of the love which is in Christ — the being sensitive to the feelings of the person loved.

III. "The same is MY MOTHER." The love entertained for a sister and mother have the one element in common. But superadded is a feeling of reverence, honour, and gratitude (1 Kings 2:19). "Them that honour me I will honour" (1 Samuel 2:30). That God and Christ will honour sinful man confers great dignity. Such, then, are the several ingredients of the love of Christ towards all those who come under the terms here specified. Nay, all love and affection, existing among men, in whatever quarter and under whatever circumstances, may be said to be comprised in His love, into be a mere emanation from the fulness of love which is in Him. Again I recur to my image of the light. Light is one thing, though comprising in itself several hues. All the fair hues of nature inhere in the light — so that where there is no light, there is no colour. Wherever the light travels, it disparts its colours to natural objects — to one after this manner, to another after that — the emerald green to the leaves — to the flowers violet, and yellow, and crimson. And in the same manner all love is in Christ, and is from Him, as its Fountainhead and Centre, disparted among the various relations of human life. A ray from His light struggles forth in the care of the father, in the tenderness of the mother, in the active support of the brother or friend, in the sister's refined sympathy — nay, in the affectionate homage of the son. And this whole love, in all its manifold elements, is brought to converge, with unshorn beams, upon that thrice happy man or boy, who does the will of God.

(E. F. Goulburn, D. C. L.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

WEB: His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.

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