Jesus taught us to love others more than ourselves

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By REV. GEORGE HOLLIS/Guest Columnist

Life in Jerusalem and in the suburb Bethlehem at the time of Jesus was during a time called Pax Romana (Latin for Peace of Rome).

This is a 205-year period, 25 BC to 180 AD, where Rome’s military conquests had ended and people enjoyed life without war.

The Upper Side of Jerusalem, where the wealthy lived, was a huge benefactor of this peace. Jerusalem was a beautiful city with about 80,000 citizens. People from all over the known world would come to see Herod’s architectural masterpieces. Herod’s neighbor would have been the high priest along with the rest of the city’s wealthy.

There was a different life in the city’s lower side. Here were the houses of the shop keepers and laborers. The homeless beggars were lower city dwellers. Here people were praying for the prophesized Messiah. Herod had killed the male babies two years old and younger around the Bethlehem area. Herod’s son, Archelaus, killed 3,000 Pharisees before he went to Rome to ask for his father’s throne. There was no theater in the lower side.

The lower side endured the cruelty of Herod, then Archelaus and then Pilate. It is this area and areas like this throughout Judea that Jesus brought good news about a new place to live and a new way of living. It is in these areas that Jesus taught us all how to love others without worrying about our own wellbeing.

God knew for us to believe, we would need to see or know of an example of a person that lived life in this world as it is lived in heaven. Jesus, even while on the cross, gave all of us an example of perfect love, “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.”

The Rev. George Hollis is pastor of Cahaba Valley Church, 5099 Caldwell Mill Road. You can reach him at