January 2024 | Conversion: Persecutor Turns Promoter

The Fullness of Love

The Fullness of Love

Dr. John K. Mathew

It is human to love and to be loved. 

According to the Scriptures, we do not know what true love is. God our Father loved us and showed us how to love. John writes, "We love because he first loved us. This is how God showed His love among us. He sent His one and only Son to the world that we might live through Him. This is how we know what love is" (1John 4:19, & 3:16). 

Love is a communicable attribute of God. So man loves. However his love is not perfect. It is guided by different factors. For example, Joseph was loved by three people, and the guiding principles were different. The scripture says that Jacob his father loved him:  "Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age, and he made a richly ornamented robe for him" (Genesis 37:3). The reason behind this love is that Joseph was born to him at a later age, so he loved him more than his other sons. The robe he made for his son revealed partiality on the part of Jacob which created a lot of problems. It was a defective love, what is called in Greek, "phileo". Ultimately, Joseph was sold by his brothers to the Egyptians and he became a slave to Potiphar.

The story tells that Potiphar also loved Joseph, because his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord gave success in everything he did" (Genesis 39:3). Joseph was loved, and he found favor in the eyes of his master because he brought good luck to Potiphar's family. Everything this young energetic man of seventeen did succeeded. This is a kind of love known as "strogea". 

Potiphar was not the only one who loved Joseph. Potiphar's wife had an eye on him. We read, "Now Joseph was well built and handsome, and after a while, his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me.' But he refused" (Gen.39:7, 8). This is love, too, in its most defective way. This is the kind of love known as 'eros'. Human love is determined by either use of this or all of these.

Then what is the supremacy of Christ's love? What makes it unique from other varieties of love? Paul writes, "But God commends his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". (Romans 5:8). In the words of John, "Greater love has no man than this that a man lays down his life for his friend". (John 15:13). This is true love. This love is unconditional which is known as "agape". 

A girl once asked her boy friend,

"Do you love me?"

"Yes, I do." he replied.

She further asked, "Would you die for me?"

He replied, "No, mine is undying love!"

This is human love, whereas Christ loved us unconditionally when we were wretched, sinners and enemies of God; expecting no price, no conditions, no demands and rewards. This love is displayed on the cross. 

Max Lucado interprets Jesus' statement to His disciples, "How long shall I put up with you", in these following words, "Long enough to be called crazy by my brothers and a liar by my neighbors. Long enough to be chased out of my own town and my temple. Long enough to be laughed at, cursed, slapped, hit, blindfolded and mocked. Long enough to feel warm spit on my face and sharp whips on my back and see my own blood puddle at my feet? How long? Until the rooster sings and the sweat stings and the mallet rings and a hillside of demons smirk at a dying God? How long? Long enough for every sin to so soak the sinless son that heaven will turn in horror until my swollen lips pronounce the final transaction: 'It is finished'. How long? Until it kills me." 

This is the perfect example of agape love. It is unconditional.

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