Author: Cleveland McLeish
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 – ESV)
There is a debate that has raged for centuries, “What is love?” Some define it as a feeling, a very strong emotion. Others are convinced that love is a choice. I believe all the definitions are right, but it still doesn’t quite capture the essence of what it is, because God is love, so how does one define a person? How does one define God?
Love was present from the very beginning of time. We see love making an appearance in the Garden of Eden when Adam sacrificed perfect union with God to die with his fallen wife. That is love. One may say it undermined or conflicted with our call to love God first, but did it really? We see Jesus come to earth and mirrored the same love Adam demonstrated in the Garden of Eden. Jesus sacrificed perfect union with God to die for humanity. That’s what the Scriptures say, right? Let’s take a look:
Have this same mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 – ESV)
Adam gave up his perfection, unity with God, daily communion with God, the very essence of his glorified humanity to die with his wife. Jesus gave up everything to be the propitiation sacrifice for humanity. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus praying, If it is Your will, let this cup pass, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. Jesus had his own thoughts, and his own will. He must have had second thoughts as He prophetically contemplated the journey ahead, but in that moment, He made a choice to recede His divinity for man’s sake. This was the same act of love we saw demonstrated in the Garden of Eden. Adam choose to die with his wife; Jesus choose to die with humanity, so He could raise us up to a new life.
So, let’s talk about love. Let’s define love. Pure love is your willingness to surrender, even your position in God, to save someone who may not even appreciate the sacrifice you make. It is your willingness to see someone who deserves to be punished, and taking that punishment instead though you have done nothing to deserve it. Pure love is leaving heaven to pull people out of hell, even though they deserve to be there. I know we like to send people to hell, but can you love them enough to take their place? That’s pure love.Prayer:Father, thank You that though we fail to define love, You are Love. You are the embodiment of love; the very essence of love, the fabric and texture of love. You loved humanity enough to reach to the lowest parts of creation and pull us from the depth of our well deserved punishment and death sentence. May You help me to become love, pure love, not just to those who are lovable and well behaved, but to someone whom I think may not deserve to be loved, in Jesus Name. Amen.