In the Book of Acts, we see the Disciples sent out by Jesus to build the Church, proclaiming the Good News, and teaching about new life through Christ. The Disciples did this over the remaining decades of their life, establishing churches throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean area. The Apostle John, who wrote the Gospel of John, has devoted his life to service to Christ and growing his Church. Now an old man, John writes to believers to encourage and teach them. He is likely towards the end of his life, writing around 60 years after Jesus’ ascension. And what is the message that he writes? Of all the theological topics, or wisdom he has gained that he could pass on to the next generation, what does he write about? He writes of love.
John writes that it is by loving that we truly understand and know who God is, because God is love. Not simply that God is loving, or that God loves, or even that God is lovely, but that God in fact is love. To truly understand who God is, we need to show love, and to love truly we need to know God.
And how does God show us this love? Through his Son Jesus Christ. By sending Jesus into the world to die in our place, by sacrificing his beloved one and only Son, God gave everything for us. God’s love held nothing back, he gave up everything for you and me, even when we didn’t deserve it. This is the love that God showed, and if he loved us this way, then surely, we can love those around us too! We also are to love sacrificially and without thought of reward. What a calling and challenge this is!