The subject of LOVE is talked about so much that we may take what it means for granted; then again, there may be some unclear thoughts in our minds. It is a simple, yet, at the same time, 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 the objective of its love. A mother still loves a naughty child, but there is a different “focus” to that love.
Jesus found it necessary from time to time to reprove the disciples for their little faith, to rebuke Peter for tempting him to disobey his Father, to chide Thomas for his lack of belief, unless he saw with his own eyes. But John was prepared to go in and witness the trial of Jesus, although he does not name himself [John 18 v.15-16] and to stand beside the cross with Mary.[19 v.26-27] All true believers must develop a living relationship with Jesus day after day.
As in all true relationships, it must grow and blossom and bring forth fruit. In his epistle, especially the chapters we read today, John writes, “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” as we have commented several times, quoting Paul’s words in Ephesians 1 v.18, is to have “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 in the saints… “ This is the “eyes” that our hearts develop to prove we have developed a real relationship with Jesus. John goes on to write, “let us not love in word and talk, but in deed and in truth” [v.18]. Our actions prove we mean what we say!
In the next chapter 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]
Yes, we know what love means – and the wonder of the meaning can frighten us. D.Caudery