Read: John 17:20-26
Reflect: Love. It is a common word and it is full of variable meanings. This morning I told my wife that I love her, and the night before I watched basketball, which I also love. Not the same. The weather today is unseasonably warm which I love, and I also just got home from a very long meeting at church, which I love. Not the same. And did I tell you about the big heart card I got from one of my students with the message “I love you Mr. Stoner” written on it? And then I went home and had a ham and cheese sub from Caruso’s, which I really love. Definitely not the same.
And so, it is necessary for us to narrow down the meaning of love as it is used here in the Bible. Love is certainly one of the attributes of God, but it is more than that, because God is love itself. He is the very essence of what it means to love. At the same time He lets us know what it means to be loved. There is no better place to see that, than in the passage before us today.
The first indication of God’s love for us is found in John 17:20 when Jesus says, “My prayer is not for them alone…..” Jesus not only prays for the people with Him, but He continues to pray for those yet to be born. He prays for the people who will someday hear the Gospel, because of the message they preach. Then Jesus speaks of the love of the Father as he says, “Father, I want those you have given me, to be with me, where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (Vs. 24). Jesus wanted for the people the same love that He Himself experienced from the Father. He goes on to equate the love of Jesus in hearts, with the presence of Jesus in those same lives.
This attribute of God tells who God is and what He is all about. Leon Morris in His book “Testaments of Love”, says this about the love of God: “This means more than that God is loving. It means that love is of the essence of His being. God loves—but not in an incidental or haphazard fashion. He loves because it is His nature to love. Because it is His nature to give Himself unceasingly in love. “He who does not love, does not know God”, writes John, “because God is love”. (I John 4:8)
Apply: Recognizing that God is love and that Jesus, His son, wants us to live a life in obedience to Him is one thing, but to actually live that truth is another matter altogether. Jesus showed His love for others by the care He gave individuals and large groups of people. Following the example of Jesus is a man by the name of Franklin Graham. Graham and his organization, Samaritan’s Purse, have brought aid and relief to thousands of people, from hurricanes to floods and to earthquakes. As I sit here writing this ReCharge, Samaritan’s Purse is in the process of sending medical aid to the country of Turkey where 22,000 people are already dead or assumed dead from a devastating earthquake. Their response time is amazing. And what about you? What’s your response time?