1 John 3:11-4:21 is our reading today. It is a tough read as the word “love” has been so used and abused in our world today that for many of us, we read with a deep cynicism. The author of the three short John epistles, letters, is the apostle John. He is famously depicted as leaning on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper. He wrote Revelation that we will look at next week. From the cross, Jesus asked John to care for Jesus’ mother.
John is very clear that one of the characteristics of a Christian is the love of God. That is not the gooey stuff of Hollywood or the dopey stuff of the flower children and certainly not the manipulative stuff of dates that ask for love but mean sex. He talks about the love of Christ that sacrificed for others, that loves brothers and sisters with their warts, wrinkles and sins. Love is not an excuse to endure abuse but love does cover a multitude of sins.
If the characteristic of a Christian is love, John says the test of a Christian or even of a spirit is the ability to say that Jesus, Son of God, came in the flesh. Jesus was true God and true man. We don’t understand and can’t explain but we do believe. We believe God is love for he loved us. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (4:10)” “We love because he first loved us (4:19). That love casts out fear.
Those are big statements that take a lifetime to get our hearts and minds around and trusting them is an always a growing dynamic. How would you describe love with your five senses?
Love smells like _________________________
Love tastes like _________________________
Love feels like __________________________
Love sounds like ________________________
Love looks like __________________________
Remember these images when you are tempted to doubt God’s love for you. He is here in the world around us, reaching out after the cross to love us. Blessings.