“Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?” John 21:16
Why is it that Christ puts so much emphasis on the matter of love? The simple answer is that He IS love…and the highest expression of His nature and character is love. However, we discover in Jesus’ dealings with Peter, He makes a distinction between the natural love which one person might have for another, and the Love of God, which God has for all mankind. The Lord goes on to deal with Peter on this subject, and reveals to him that Peter’s natural love can never stand up to the pressures of the opposing “un-love” and hatred of this world. Only the love of God, by the Spirit, is of a nature and power, that it will stand, withstand, and overcome.
In the book of the Song of Solomon, there are several statements concerning this love. The first is, “Love is strong as death.” (8:6) The second is, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” (8:7) Where do we see this exemplified in the New Testament? The Apostle John tells us that, “…when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” (Jn. 13:1) It is a tremendous, marvelous testament to the Love of God, that the Lord Jesus loved His “own” without ceasing, even in the face of Calvary. He knew their frailty, their need, their sin, and yet, He will love them to the end. What was the key to this love, when all would forsake Him, and not be able to face the overwhelming pressure by the enemy? It is found in the relationship of Jesus with His Father. “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” (Jn. 14:31) The love of the Son for the Father, and the corresponding love of the Father for the Son is the interminable bond that will never be broken. There were unseverable, eternal cables, that passed from the Father’s heart to that of the Son. The whole of the reason for Christ going to the Cross was because of His love for the Father, and the corresponding love of God for the world.
How does this subject apply to us? If we are to know this love of God, then we must be in that place in our relationship with Christ, where He can not only give this love by the Spirit, but where we can receive it…to LIVE it. Matthew writes, in speaking of the last days: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.” (24:12) What short-circuits the love of God, and our experience of it? Simply put, it is sin, or unbelief. It is when, for any reason, from pressures without, or wrong desires from within, we cease to be dependent upon Christ, or submitted to Him, that we will find ourselves not in a position to receive that overcoming power of love.
Dear Father, give us to major on love, Thy love, and to live and walk by the Spirit, so that its overcoming power can be revealed in us. Give us to KNOW the steadfastness and resolve of such love, for in Thyself is our power, strength, and endurance. We thank Thee for the everlasting testimony of Christ, and trust Thee for that testimony to be revealed in and through us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.