Jesus is Love
Every person wants love. “Love makes the world go ‘round.” “All you need is love.” “Make love, not war.” But what is the source of love? Where do I find true love? The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is love. He is not just loving. He is the very source of love, example of love and embodiment of love. Therefore, Jesus is what we are looking for, whether we realize it or not.
We say “I love hot dogs” and “I love my mother” with the same English word. But the New Testament of the Bible was written primarily in the Greek language, which has multiple words for “love.” When it speaks of God being love it uses the Greek word “agape” which is the highest form of love that is transcending, unconditional and unending. This is the love that only God can give, for it is the love that only God is. And so it is only possible for the Christian to show this kind of love as he/she has God living in and through him/her.
The apostle Paul describes the “agape” love in First Corinthians 13, especially verses 4 through the first phrase of verse 8. In short summary, this love is always patient, kind, not jealous, bragging or arrogant. It always acts appropriately and courteously, not seeking what’s best for “me” but for others. It is all about the truth and what is right. It endures through all, ever believing and hoping for the best. That’s the kind of love I want given to me, and the kind I want to give to others!
The ultimate love of God was shown on the cross of Calvary, when Jesus “so loved the world” that he chose to die to pay the price for our rebellious acts, which God calls “sin.” We each deserved that death, but Jesus took our place in selfless, sacrificial love. That amazing love of God is the ultimate display of “agape.”
Love is not just something to be known about. It is to be experienced! It is the experience of being forgiven for a wrong done, not judged for a different opinion or life style, accepted for who I am, and challenged to be the best I can be. Love is not experienced in isolation, but must be experienced in community. We all need hugs, handshakes, high fives, verbal and physical affirmation, smiles, acceptance and a listening and caring ear.
At Oaks Bible Church of Santa Barbara/Goleta we are not experts at agape love (only God is). But we do strive to be practitioners. You are invited to come experience and learn with us!