Is love a strong feeling of emotion or a commitment to care as much as you care about yourself? And does it still make the world go round? Cut off from a God-given moral standard, Jesus Christ Gospel Of Love means whatever you want; a summery, sunshine feeling for someone else – until a dark cloud blows over your little summer-love world and your feeling vanishes like the morning mist. No, love has to be more than that. We must listen to Jesus and his word on love.
- LOVE IS MORE
Love was not the only powerful word that Jesus used in his teaching, but there are just two places in John’s Gospel that I am sharing with you now. Nicodemus was likely the top-ranking Jewish teacher, who had come to talk with Jesus at night-time, perhaps to avoid bad publicity. But instead of the well-known teacher instructing Jesus with traditional theological, what a surprise, he listens to Jesus! Nicodemus has never heard anything like it, as he listens to Jesus’ wonderful words, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). What amazing words! Don’t underestimate their clear meaning.
- LOVE GIVES
These most wonderful words show that God’s nature is full of love, a love which is prepared to give, and that the one who is given is also filled with the same love. So, the word used here in the original biblical language means a self-giving, self-sacrificing love, which has others’ highest interest at heart. God is love, but that does not mean a sentimental, gushy sort of feeling open to being pulled or pushed this way and that. No, God’s love is purposeful, and it sets out to give so that by Jesus’ death vast numbers of people, down through the centuries, will be rescued from condemnation and brought back to God and into his own family.
For here is the other side of the love of God; it is a pure and holy love, which sets out to save people and bring them into fellowship with God by giving his own Son into the awful judgement their sins deserved. This just judgement is the worst of all perils. And all are included, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). But Jesus is telling Nicodemus that God is providing one amazing way of escape – the way to receive God’s gift of eternal life through wholehearted trust in Jesus, who died and was raised to a victorious, endless life. Today, he is the ever-living Saviour, whose love is as powerful and as strong as when he hung dying on the cross.
- LOVE IS GOD’S BEST
Stop for a moment and think. God did not just write about his love in the sky in huge glowing letters, ‘I love you!’ for all the world to see. No, rather he wrote his love in the precious life-blood of his beloved eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Jesus died on the cross. Then God opened the hearts of Jesus’ disciples so they would be moved, and filled with Jesus’ love, and have the power of his precious blood cleanse their sin-defiled hearts.