1 John 3:16 (NIV)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Our Verse of the Day captures a great truth that Jesus desires each of us to attain from our personal encounter with Him; namely, the truth of God’s unfathomable love for those He created in His image … and all of His creation. Indeed, we find this truth repeated in the inspired writings of the New Testament authors. John wrote: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (Cf. John 3:16) And Paul wrote: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Cf. Romans 5:8)
What the Apostle John affirms here is that the sacrificial death of Jesus is how we KNOW what love is! Jesus Christ defines the love of God in terms that we have yet to fully comprehend. Yet, Jesus assures us that this truth can be known and understood by us. Consider the following text:
John 17:20-26 (NIV) ~ Excerpt from the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus
“My prayer is not for them (the apostles) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
My friends, we can know God and know His love because of Jesus Christ … His Son. The veil covering the holy place in the temple was torn in two – opening our access and revealing our capacity to have fellowship with the God who created us in His image. Jesus attested that He was sent to reveal the Father and to make Him known. Because of Jesus, we can know God … His Being and His passionate love for us. Paul understood this revelation; and his prayer for the Ephesian believers in Ephesians 3:14-21 encompassed a deep, heartfelt desire for them (and us) to KNOW “this love that surpasses knowledge.”
Indeed, God has spoken His love for us. God has revealed His love for us. God has shown and demonstrated His love for us. All the Father asks of us is to believe in His Son, Jesus, and to love one another as He has loved us! His will is not mysterious or unknown. His expectation of those created in His image is attainable. The reciprocation of His love can be achieved. The only question for us is whether we truly desire in our hearts to make it actual in our lives. For love requires us to humble ourselves … to subdue own wills … to exalt God above all else. And Christ Jesus, who ascended into heaven to become our High Priest before the throne of God, has demonstrated what this submission entails. Indeed, the Son, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Cf. Philippians 2:6-8)
When we humble ourselves and exert our own wills to be obedient … to pick up our cross daily … to die to sin … to believe God at His Word … to see God through His Son; I am persuaded that we will intimately experience His love that surpasses knowledge and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. We will have the capacity to love others as we have been loved. Indeed, that is the purpose of God … to complete His love. The Apostle John shared these insights with us:
1 John 4:7-17 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
All of these scriptures reveal the meaning and purpose of our Lord Jesus Christ being sent by the Father to this earth. God sent His Son to fulfill all of these truths because of His great love for us! I pray we will continue to reflect on these things as we recount His crucifixion and celebrate His resurrection!
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then Jesus said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then Jesus returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” He asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When Jesus came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So, He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. ~ Matthew 26:36-44