The Love of God in Christ

As I read the lectionary readings for this Sunday ( Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:25-31, 1 John 4:7-21, and John 15:1-8), I was struck by the immense love of God that he displayed in giving up his life for us.

It was so beautiful to see the way that Psalm 22 fleshes out the difficulty and suffering Jesus endured in showing the love described in 1 John 4:10 as well as the praise and redemption that resulted from his selfless sacrifice at the end of the Psalm.

I think so often we crave this selfless unconditional love and we search for it in all the wrong places, yet it is only found in God. While the disciples could not even stay awake in prayer with Jesus for one hour in the garden (Matt 26:40-46), Jesus, knowing the suffering and betrayal that lay before him, told his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” (John 15:13) and he went on to show that love despite all that lay ahead.

He calls us to remain in his love (John 15:9), yet we ought not stop there, but then we are to show this same love toward one another (John 15:12; 1 John 4:12, 20-21)

Honestly, I struggle to show this level of selfless love toward those who have cared well for me, much less those who have hurt, betrayed, or abandoned me as the disciples did Christ. Yet that is why he calls us to remain in him. On our own it is impossible; only in him can we be fruitful (John 15:4). As we remain in his love and set our eyes on him, he transforms us to his image and enables us to endure (2 Cor 3:18; Heb 12:1-3).

Time and time again in my life, I find that as I spend time in his word and in community with others who are following Christ whole-heartedly, God has given me the strength to love and forgive others as he has loved and forgiven me. He replaces anger and bitterness with mercy and compassion.

I am thankful to be a part of this community, reading the lectionary readings together and I’m excited to hear how God has spoken to and shaped others through the lectionary readings this week!

What stuck out to you in the readings or how has God used them in your life this week?

What are some of the ways you that you have been able to remain in the love of Christ and how has God brought about transformation and fruit as you remained in him?