What Does Jesus Have To Do With Chinese Philosophy?


Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher born between 600 B.C. and 400 B.C. who developed Taoism, a belief system that put a high value on loving others, maintaining balance, and living in harmony.

My wife was reading about him the other day and something Lao Tzu said has stuck with me for the last few weeks:

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Now... before you ask, two things:

Firstly, yes, this blog is still about Jesus.

But read Lao Tzu’s quote again, this time through the lens of Jesus. Isn’t it a beautiful explanation of His life and ministry?


Being deeply loved gives you strength 

Remember when Jesus was at His most sorrowful? Immediately after the Last Supper, He took a walk to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. All four Gospels describe it in some detail. Jesus was accompanied by three Apostles: Peter, John, and James. He asked them to stay awake because, well, He was about to be betrayed, arrested, and crucified. Jesus wanted some companionship in those final moments.

The Apostles (predictably) fell asleep, so Jesus cried out: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as You, not I, would have it." After some wrestling with the Father, Jesus knew this was His only path to earning salvation for the whole world:

"If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, Your will be done!”

Jesus needed great strength and so He went to His Father, who deeply loved Him, and found it.


Loving someone deeply gives you courage

Some days later after that agony in Gethsemane, Jesus was faced with another decision — He was to be tortured, ridiculed, and crucified… but He could be rescued at any moment if He would just ask for it. He didn’t have to continue in His suffering.

But Jesus loves us with a love so deep and so wide that Paul said it is “beyond knowledge” when describing it to the Ephesians. And that love gave Him great courage to press on with His work and endure the cross with joy: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


Who do you love?

Jesus sets such a great example of love, strength, and courage throughout His life. He goes to the Father for love and it fills him with strength to make tough decisions. He loves each of us and it gives Him courage. 

Who do you love? What gives you strength? Where is your courage coming from? If it’s your family or your friends or even a spouse, it may last for a while — but it will ultimately fail. However, if you follow the example of Jesus, your love, strength, and courage will never run out.