*NOTE* All scripture passages taken from The Scriptures 1998+ unless otherwise noted.
A renewed command I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all know that you are My taught ones, if you have love for one another. John 13:34,35
In order to understand love and what it is, we must go directly to the source of love. We have to lay aside any preconceived ideas we have and love others the way the Father wants us to love them. Not just to love others the way we want to be loved but to love them the way Messiah has loved us. Even unto death. Yeshua showed us the Father’s love perfectly.
Yeshua did not come to do his own will, he submitted himself fully to the Father. This is humility and we need to have this kind of humility because without it we will not truly be able to love others the way the Father loves us.
The early saints had a strong unity between themselves, filled with the Ruach and did the will of the Father. Only true humility can unite people so strongly. We have to become selfless, we have to let go of the wheel! Our Father in Heaven is driving the boat, not us. When we try to take the wheel we lead ourselves and everyone else with is to destruction.
We need to love Messiah more than life itself.
Then יהושע said to His taught ones, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited if he gains all the world, and loses his own life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? Matthew 16:24-26
We cannot love truly when we are self willed. To try and control others to do things our way is not the will of the Father. We need to submit to the Father and realize it is his job alone to lead others. Especially those who have the rule over us.
In order that we might understand what it means to love Yeshua, we must first define what is meant by the word love.
The Greek word for the highest form of “love” is agape.
(Agape is a Latin first name (and a word) from the Greek áãÜðç (agapi, with EE sound and the second syllable stressed: ah-GAH-pee). In Latin the pronunciation is ah-GAH-peh, not pey. In some romance languages the word is pronounced with the first syllable stressed: AH-gah-peh.)
This love is considered unconditional and is the love that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 and is most appropriate for understanding what it means to love Messiah. Paul explains this type of love by what it does and what it does not do. According to 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, agape is patient, kind, rejoicing with truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping in all things, and enduring through all things. In contrast, agape does not envy, boast, or rejoice in wrongdoing; it is not arrogant, rude, selfish, irritable, or resentful. Most importantly, agape does not end. It will not fade away like philia. Agape is not based on circumstances and will never end.
Agape is not based on emotion but on the will. Each characteristic of agape is a deliberate choice to act in a certain way. Therefore, when Yeshua said, “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.” (John 14:15) he was teaching us that loving him would be a verifiable action, not an emotional feeling. If Messiah is to be loved as he commanded, then a conscious choice must be made to act according to the pattern described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Real love is caring and nurtures others rather than controlling them. While genuine caring comes from a place of selflessness and love, controlling behavior usually comes from a place of resentment or insecurity.
Getting angry when someone breaks one of your arbitrary “rules” or blows every minor thing out of proportion, means you are not loving them. Even if your vitriol is confined to verbal outbursts, that still doesn’t make it okay. Coercive control is not agape.
Take time and think about the relationship between our love for Elohim and our love for Yeshua. Those are two foundational commands (or demands) in the gospels. We all know Yeshua’s answer to the question: “What is the first and great commandment?” “And יהושע said to him, “ ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and great command.” (Matthew 22:37–38). Other Gospels say: And strength. So loving God with your heart and all that you are is the first and greatest command from Messiah.
You can claim to love the Father, and love other people, but unless your works prove it then what you have is not love. You can’t claim to love someone, yet all the while attack them verbally and even physically and think you have anything close to love. Even when Messiah was attacked he never defended himself, he only defended the Father and his will.
Respect all, love the brotherhood, fear Elohim, respect the sovereign. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the crooked ones. For this is favour, if because of conscience toward Elohim anyone bears up under grief, suffering unrighteously. For what credit is there in enduring a beating when you sin? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure, this finds favour with Elohim. For to this you were called, because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps, who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, who, being reviled, did not revile in return; suffering, did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His body on the timber, so that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness1 – by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:17-24
Messiah left us not just a great example, but the perfect example of love. Without love we can’t think we are anything.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of messengers, but do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1
When Messiah came to this world we saw more deeply who the Father is. Elohim sent Messiah, whose nature is the Father’s, to show a supreme act of love for people alienated, corrupt, and childish. He saw our better nature, having been the one who made us. He did not hold our pretensions and cruelties against us. He said, “They don’t know what they are doing!” And so Messiah who is one with the Father died for us.