Daily Readings and Thought for December 17th. “SEE WHAT KIND OF LOVE ….”
The word LOVE is used so much in conversation we can easily undervalue the meaning of this word in the Bible. It occurs repeatedly in the 2 chapters we read in 1 John today (3 & 4). It is a profound subject. The Apostle John uses it frequently in his Epistles. He himself is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” [John 21 v.7,20]
But did not Jesus love them all? Of course he did! But love comes in degrees of intensity; it understands the character which is its objective. Consider John! He was prepared to go in and see all the events at the trial of Jesus, although he does not name himself [John 18 v.15-16] and he stood beside the cross with Mary, the mother of Jesus. [19 v.26-27] It was John who recorded the words of Jesus, “Greater love has no one than this – that someone lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15 v.3]
All true believers must aim to develop a living and loving relationship with Jesus day after day. As in all true relationships, it must grow and blossom and bring forth fruit. Today we read “See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are“ [v.1]
Do we know that? What kind of knowing is that? John goes on to write, “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or knows him” [1 John 3 v.5,6]
So those who fail to become more like Jesus have never really known him! John says they haven’t “seen him”. The sense of “see” we have noted before, it was illustrated when Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus that God “may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance …” [1 v. 17,18] This is all vitally involved in ‘seeing’ the “kind of love” he has given to us.
With “what kind of love” do we respond? John goes on to write, “let us not love in word and talk, but in deed and in truth” [v.18]. Our actions prove whether we mean what we say! In chapter 4 John writes, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us … we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected in us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement … there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear “ [4 v. 12,16-18]
Let us all look very carefully to “See what kind of love” is being perfected in us?