“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:9-17
We humans are probably the most difficult species to love. We have a way of isolating God and his love. But he loves us unconditionally. He continues to love us. He demonstrated his love in Christ Jesus.
We sometimes wish God would just love us and everyone else without getting us involved in the whole loving process. It is sometimes so hard to love other people, for whatever reason.
In the text, Jesus told his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” He told them of the love of God, which was demonstrated in his cruel death and in his resurrection.
The love of God is something which many people in the world have a great difficulty understanding. Therefore, people find every excuse to blame God for the misfortunes in this world today.
The existence of God and his care for the people of the world is a concern which constantly plagues the people of the world. They do not understand why people suffer, especially their family members.
Many may reason: If God is so loving, why would he allow the disasters that take place in our world? Why do people have to go through so much pain and suffering, particularly during illness?
I do understand what it is like to have a family member linger in pain and agony. My father and two brothers suffered and died from cancer. Additionally, my recently departed mother suffered for years before dying from old age.
Should I blame God for that? No! God is not responsible for the evil in this world. Sin is the reason and cause of the pain and suffering we encounter in this life. We live in a sinful world.
Therefore, suffering and pain are a part of life’s woes. They are experiences which humans will endure until we leave this life, when God shall call us to our eternal rest.
God demonstrated his love in what he did for us. Even though our foreparents rebelled against him and sought to be gods themselves, he never abandoned humanity.
God put in place redemption for all who would come into the world through the seed of Adam. He is merciful to us. Jesus is an expression of God’s love for mankind.
Scripture tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The love that God gives to us in Jesus is a fierce love.
Yes, this love, this real, claiming, binding love changes us in such a way that loving one another becomes as natural as breathing. We can love one another because God has first loved us.
Loving one another is Jesus’ command to us. Love is God’s gift to us. It is ours to give to this world, which is beset by hatred, illness and sorrow. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.