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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“God is Love”

John 15:12-17

Jesus here is affirming the absolute centrality of love in Christian life.  Jesus himself is the model for that love.  He reveals a number of critical aspects of “agape” love.  Jesus makes it explicit that true love is sacrificial.  He states, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  This is the meaning of Jesus going to the cross.  It is an act of love on behalf not only of his disciples but of the whole world (I John 2:2).

Jesus goes on to affirm that true love creates equality.  The disciples are not merely servants.  Neither are we.  We are friends.  This comes from Jesus himself.  It is a powerful reminder that love cannot be present in hierarchies or situations of dominance.  Parents of necessity have authority over children.  Rulers have authority over their subjects.  Yet despite these roles the final goal of the relationship has to be one of equality.

Jesus also affirms that love takes the initiative.  It does not wait to be asked.  Jesus says clearly that the disciples did not choose him.  Rather he chose them and gave them their ministry.  The same applies to us.  Jesus’ love reaches out to each one of us.  As we have noted none of us deserves to be loved.  Jesus loves us because he loves us.  This was the case with God and Israel.  Israel was nothing special.  In fact Israel was always a disobedient people.  God loved Israel because he chose to love them (Deut. 7:6-8; 9:6).

Jesus again repeats his commandment.  We are to love each other as he has loved us.  Jesus says this over and over.  It needs to be repeated.  We can easily turn back into our own concerns and pursuits.  Yet if we are to have the joy that Jesus promises we need to live out the reality of his love.

Loving and faithful God I cannot thank you enough for the fact that you chose to love me.  Give me the grace to show that same love to others.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.