Being loved is the most powerful motivation in the world. Our ability to love is often shaped by our experience of love. My brother, my sister, today, let’s look at John, Jesus’ disciple, who expressed his relationship to the Son of God by calling himself: ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20).
My friend, Jesus’ love is clearly communicated throughout the Gospel, but the Gospel of John has made love its central theme. Why? Because John’s experience of Jesus’ love was very strong and personal and John was very sensitive to the actions and words of Jesus, who indeed demonstrated love to others while He was in the world. Jesus loved us with a godly love (agape) and He wants us to love Him that way in return. We remember Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him three times (John 21:15-17). He was actually asking him: “Peter, do you AGAPE me?”… But Peter’s answer was: “Lord, I PHILIA you.” And most of the time, we are like Peter, ready to offer the One who is love and who died for us only philia love, because the Agape love is more demanding of us, it’s self-sacrifice love. And, the same as He did with Peter or John, Jesus confronts each of us as we cannot know the depth of His love unless we are willing to face the fact that He knows us completely. If we believe otherwise, then we are fooled into believing that Jesus loves the person we pretend to be, not the the sinner we actually are. Yes, John and all the disciples must then convince us that God is able and willing to accept us as we are, despite our sins, despite our limits. Being aware of God’s unconditional love is a great motivator for change and hope in the midst of affliction, first because His love is not given in exchange for our efforts; secondly because His love frees us to really live. My friend, have you already accepted the Lord’s unconditional love?
You see, sometimes, our desire to be loved urges us to do selfish things. We remember that John was one of the disciples of Christ who wanted a special position in Jesus’ Kingdom along with his brother James (Mark 10:35-40). It is because they had not yet realised how much they were loved by Jesus… They had not yet experienced the true love that transforms our lives. You see, when God’s love touches us, it changes our lives: God does not take away the characteristics of our personality, but He puts them to effective use to serve Him… Thus, when we are filled with God’s love, where there was selfishness, selflessness emerges; where there was doubt, faith will emerge; where there was a lack, abundance will emerge. That is the reason why the Bible tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). My friend, the love of God may be what you need the most today to face life’s challenges. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.