Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading for this week os 1 John 4:1-11. If we look at verses 10 and 11 we find an answer to a deep and enduring question. At least it is a question we ought to have. What’s love really like?
Our world will make many different attempts to answer this problem. We generally think we know what love is. We’re pretty sure we know what it isn’t. But it becomes difficult when we actually try to define it.
John’s definition is also a little circular in nature. What is love? It’s that Jesus loved us, not that we loved him. Very well, that’s not helpful. It didn’t give any sort of definition. But it does give us an illustration.
How did Jesus love us? He laid down his divine authority and power. He became man for my sake. He found a way of taking my sin upon himself. He who knew no sin became sin for me so that I could become God’s righteousness in him. He asserted that it would be accomplished by grace through faith, not of any of my works. And he took care of everything. By his resurrection he showed that he conquered death. There’s the show of love.
We seem all too willing to talk about Christianity in terms of our love for God. But the Scripture always talks about it in terms of God’s love for us. That’s the heart of Christianity. Without God’s positive regard for his people we would have no reasonable hope.
What do we do, then? We love others. We pour out our lives in love and care for our neighbor, because Jesus has first loved us. It’s in this way that all will come to know that God has demonstrated his love for the world in Christ. It’s by our loving words and deeds for others that they will find out that Jesus loves them also. There’s love. It starts in God, then spreads to the world.
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