We hear the word love tossed around quite often. Of course, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, our word love is ambiguous compared to the Greek words used in the New Testament. We use one word to cover three words used by Jesus and his disciples.
Today, we see Jesus switch words depending on who or what He is talking about. When talking about God’s love or our love for Him or each other, He uses agapao. When He talks about remaining in His love, He uses the word agape. Let’s dive a little deeper into His meaning.
Yesterday we defined agapao as involving a deep level of affection or intimacy. We also mentioned that we often simplify it by defining it as unconditional love. Jesus used it not only for loving God, but also for loving our neighbor.
As we look at today’s passage, we see the Father loved Jesus with this type of love and Jesus loved His disciples in the same way. In other words, Jesus acted just like the Father. Jesus uses this definition to state how we are to love one another. Very much like yesterday’s passage.
Agape contains the notion of benevolence or goodwill. It means putting our love into action. To remain in God’s love, we must do something. Acting benevolently toward others means we look to benefit someone rather than gaining a profit. How does our attitude fit into this?
When we look solely to benefitting someone without looking for a profit, we no longer intend to “wash someone’s back in order to get them to wash ours.” We do not look for anything in return. Unfortunately, we don’t see this much in the world today.
Far too often, people are only willing to do something for someone else, if they know they will get something in return. I’ve even seen such attitudes when people are supposedly charitable. They hold it over the other person’s head, or they have a high opinion of themselves. Jesus is telling us it is our duty, not an extracurricular activity. In other words, we are not to hold ourselves in any higher esteem than we would for doing our job (perhaps not as much).
Jesus came to serve others. He came to minister to their needs. To follow His example, we must do the same. We must serve without lording it over others. We are to serve humbly, just as Jesus did. It is our calling from God.
I pray we all willingly serve one another. I pray we serve humbly. I pray each one of us rids ourselves of the attitude of being better than others. Follow Jesus’ example. Obey Jesus’ command. Love one another. Show your love through actions.
John 15:9-13 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Loveeach other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”