Jesus loves you:
Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa (as) to Muslims) was one of the greatest persons to have lived on earth. Most Christians consider him as literally the ‘son of God’, whereas Muslims view this figuratively and see him as one of the greatest of a long line of prophets instead. Regardless of this crucial positional difference between the two faiths, the majority of both groups of followers would agree that he embodied, exhibited, preached, and demonstrated love, mercy, and compassion. We shall explore this theme in the Holy Bible, see what the Holy Quran has to say about him in this respect, and also see how usefully these qualities can be applied today and why they are necessary.
Love is a common theme in Jesus’ sayings in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. I will present several examples to show that he embodied, preached, and expressed it, including the related qualities of mercy and compassion. During trials and difficulties, while himself at the mercy of others, he would pray to God for their forgiveness, “for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke, 23:34). He would not have done so were it not for his love and compassion towards them and his concern for their salvation. Jesus Christ (as) also points out the love of God for mankind, as in John 17:23: “…You love them as much as You love me.”
Jesus not only exhibited love, mercy, and compassion himself but also taught others to do the same. He strongly advised people to love God and one another in two well-known sayings. When asked about the most important of God’s commandments, he pointed out that the most important commandment is this: “Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” (Mark 12:28-32) He continued, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.’”
One may ask how to express love for God and people. On how to love God, Jesus told us that we can express our love for Him by obeying his commandments (John, 14:15). Jesus exhibited the same with people through his disposition, sayings, and teachings and demonstrated it through his actions, i.e., in the way he related with others. Those present with Jesus as his followers were fortunate because they were able to sense their master’s intentions and inclinations, cognize his mental outlook, feel his emotional moods, and witness the demonstrations of love, mercy, and compassion in person. He advised his close circle of followers to love each other as he himself loved them because “If you love each other, all men will know you are My followers”. It means that loving others was an important characteristic of his circle, and he stressed to others in it to do as he perceived, thought, felt, and did to others. He reassured his followers that by doing so, God would “certainly care” for them (Matthew 6:30). While exhibiting love, mercy, and compassion was paramount for his followers, it was also advised as an essential trait for Christians generally.
The compassion of Jesus Christ (as) is also well-established in the Holy Bible. For instance, Matthew 6:34 and 9:36 mention his compassion for distressed and dispirited people “like sheep without a shepherd”. He was particularly compassionate towards the sick (Matthew 14:14), the blind (Matthew 20:34), those who wept (Luke 7:13), and his hungry companions (Mark 8:2-3). He was even merciful towards sinners (John 8) while also advising them to stop sinning (John 5:14), and he advised others to show such mercy as well (Matthew 9:13).
Exhibiting so much love and compassion, as we have read above, is a manifestation of purity and righteousness. The Last Testament, or the Holy Quran, highlights this point and informs us further on Jesus’ mission, special qualities, status, and compassionate actions. The Quranic view is that Jesus Christ (Isa in Arabic), the son of Mary, a woman of truth, was a messenger prophet of God (HQ 5:75), thus sent by God and not God Himself. He came into the company of the righteous to impart wisdom and clarify certain points that were previously disputed (HQ 43: 63-65). He only said what he was commanded by God to say and never came to be worshipped but to make others worship God (HQ 5: 116-117).
However, he is distinguished as a prophet, especially due to his closeness to God and his healing and other miraculous abilities, such as the fact that he spoke from his cradle (HQ 19:29-30), which is not mentioned in the Bible. He was renowned for his abilities to heal, raise the dead, and give life to inanimate objects (HQ 3:49). All these would not have happened without the desire to do so and love for the person or object in question. Love, mercy, and compassion underpinned all these happenings. The Quran affirms that the Prophet Is (as) was a sign and mercy for mankind (HQ 19:21, 3:50). In commonality with Christian teachings, he is also recognized as being born of a virgin (HQ 19: 20-22), and designated as the ‘Word of God’ (kalimatullah) (HQ 4:171) and the Messiah (4:157, 5:75).
Although there is ample evidence of Jesus embodying love, mercy, and compassion, which is also true for other prophets and friends of God in general, it begs the question of how to deal with there being so much hatred and lack of mercy and compassion in the world overall. As we come closer to the dawn of a more spiritual age at the time of writing, it is pertinent to remember what Jesus Christ (as) said about love, mercy, and compassion and how he expressed these qualities.
An important inner quality that may be deemed relevant for the present times is humbleness because “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth” (Matthew 5:5), and an important activity that all lovers of Jesus Christ should engage in is to work for peace in their neighborhood and the world. The latter is so because “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Many problems stem from judging others, which Jesus forbade (Matthew 7:1-2). When people are looked upon differently or perceived and treated derogatively or as enemies, expressing love, mercy, and compassion is the only way to restore harmony. Jesus specifically advised people to love their enemies, not hate them, and to: “Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:27-28). If people would follow Jesus’ real teachings and examples and adopt this attitude today, we could definitely move quickly to a more peaceful world. We shall end by pointing out the greatest gift of three things that last forever. Jesus Christ (as) identified them as faith, hope, and love and said, “The greatest of these is love”. This is presumably due to its immense power to dissolve all forms and degrees of animosity, strengthen mutual relations, and establish peace and harmony.