Who Needs Love?

     Love is a multifaceted concept. In the English language we use adjectives to make clear what kind of love we are speaking of. The Greeks had four different words to accomplish this differentiation. For physical love they used “eros” which Plato said included the appreciation of beauty. For friendship they used “phileo” and we see that root word in “Philadelphia,” the city of brotherly love (see also Hebrews 13:1). They had a word for family love (“storge”) which we find in the New Testament only as part of its negative form, rendered “without natural affection” in 2 Timothy 3:3. The Greeks also had a word to express the highest form of love, “agape.” This word has in it the idea of wanting the best for someone else without regard to the cost to one’s self.

     Jesus took this word and carried even higher. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is the ultimate expression of love. As Paul explained in Romans 5, it is a reasonable thing for a man to give himself for a good person that he cares about. It is for most of us also reasonable for a person to sacrifice himself in face of danger that might harm family, friends or any innocent person. But none of us would say that it is reasonable for a man to sacrifice himself for a person who is evil and sinful. Add to this set of ideas the concept of giving up not yourself but your son or daughter. We would shake our heads and say “No” to that.

     But God manifested His love for us by sending His Son to die in our place. Remember also that Jesus Christ, the Son of God was God Himself (John 1:1-4, 14). We do not deserve this kind of treatment. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We deserve to be lost. But God loves us. Who needs this love? Don’t we all?

     Understanding this love helps us live the Christian life. Paul helps us with this too. He described the behavior of this love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Love is longsuffering, kind, does not envy or parade itself, is not puffed up, is neither rude nor selfish, is not provoked and does not think evil. Love rejoices in truth, not iniquity. Love bears, believes, hopes and endures. Love never fails. What kind of life would we have if we lived like this love?

     Jesus had a letter written to the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7). They were a good church but Jesus had something against them. They left their first love. We need to be sure that we do not leave our love for the Lord (John 14:15). Who needs God’s love? We all do.