Speaking with His disciples, Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” – John 13:34
How did Jesus love His disciples? Do we really understand what Jesus is asking us to do? The truth is that many do not understand this commandment because they do not have knowledge of the type of love that Jesus is talking about. Today, we have an idea of love that is different than Jesus’ idea. We live in a society that thinks that love is what we feel and see in the movies or hear in songs. We believe that love is a good feeling that includes butterflies in the stomach and birds singing. That is not what Jesus is talking about when he asks us to love “as I have loved you.”
In order to fulfill this commandment, we need to understand that the word “love” that we use today comes from two Greek words; Agape and Phileo. Phileo refers to human love. This type of love is conditional, is based on circumstances, seeks a reward, and has an ending. Agape love is a divine love. This type of love does not give conditions, is not based on the circumstances, does not seek a reward, and is eternal. Phileo love needs two people that offer love to one another. Agape love requires only one person to love without receiving any love in return. As you can see, there is a big difference between Agape love that comes from God and Phileo love which is human love.
The problem that humanity faces today is that the majority of people only know and give out Phileo love. This is as a result of two things: first, sin has separated us from God and without God, we cannot love with Agape love. Second, we live in a society that promotes Phileo love and not Agape love. Movies, songs, and what we’ve learned from the time we are children promote a conditional type of love that can have an ending.
When Jesus came to earth, He showed us in a tangible way, what Agape love is. It was because of His love towards us that He came to this world to die for a people that did not love him back. Jesus loved us without expecting anything in return. He did not put conditions in order to love us and He did not stop loving us even when humanity rejected Him to the point of death.
Jesus is asking us to love in the same manner that He loved us. He is asking us to love with an Agape type of love and not Phileo love. In other words, Jesus is asking us to love even when we are not loved back. He wants us to love without conditions. He wants us to love without looking at the circumstances and without analyzing whether or not it is worth it. He wants us to love with a love that has no end.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 God tells us that the love with which He loves us and wants us to love with suffers long, meaning that it is patient. It is kind, which is more than just good, it is a love that loves regardless of anything else. It is a love that does not envy and instead of parading itself, it recognizes the merits of others. God’s love does not behave rudely, in other words, it does no harm to others. It is not selfish, meaning it gives away its own rights. It is a type of love that is not provoked, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. It’s a love that never fails.
With what type of love are you loving today? Let God pour out His love on you today so that you would be able to love like He wants you to love. Examine your life today; your marriage, your relationships, etc. and decide that from now on, with God’s help, you will love with the same love that God loves us; with an Agape love.
Pastor Marcio Sierra Jr.