Jesus started a whole bunch of new stuff. He wasn’t about the old world. His mission was to bring God’s love to us all. He also set whole new standards for how I should live.
And so …. what Jesus expects is straightforward. No wiggle room here. He loves us. We are to love each other that same way.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Jesus demonstrated His love for me by dying on the cross so that I can be reconciled to God the Father. Jesus has sealed me with the Holy Spirit. The death of Jesus is how I know what love is. Now this is some good news!
- 1 John 3:16 — We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- 1 John 4:10 — In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- John 15:13 — “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
- Ephesians 5:2 — And walk in love, just as the Messiah also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
- Ephesians 5:25 — Husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
- I get to decide whether to love or not. So do you. I often am not loving. I can be mean and cruel. I have no defense. “Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
There is good news in that the Word of God and Jesus offers an understanding of the source, character, requirement and value of love, based on the nature and actions of God our Father. Jesus sums up God’s goal (command) for us as one of loving God and our neighbors.
“You shall love the Master your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Jesus | Matthew 22:37
I must confess that I am not the best at this. I am challenged many days. Let’s dig in. There is much to learn on how to love.
The Greek word here is ἀγάπη agape. The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament.
How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love.
It does not refer to close friendship or brotherly love”, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13 (see below).