February 3 (4th Sunday after Epiphany): “The Greatest of These is Love”
Main Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (Jeremiah 1:4-10; Luke 4:21-30)
Jeremiah recognizes his complete inability to accomplish what God is calling him to do. He realizes that he does not possess the gifts necessary. God, however, gently tells him that it is not his gifts, but God who will work through him. It is not about who Jeremiah is, but who God makes him to be through his presence and grace. Luke’s Gospel reading shows Jesus own people unable to see the presence of God in his words, because they are too focused on where he came from. It can be more difficult to see God’s gifts and presence in those closest to us. They are unable to receive the Word made flesh in their midst, because they can’t see beyond his beginnings. Where have you been unable to see the gifts of God in those closest to you? First Corinthians 13 is a favorite in many weddings. It is important, however, to remember that this is not a description of the love between a man and a woman. Instead, this is what the fullness of love is meant to be. This is what all love is meant to be and will be when the kingdom is fully present. Last week we were encouraged to strive for the greater gifts. This kind of love is the greatest of all gifts. When we strive for this kind of love, the joy of the Lord is our strength. For God is love!