Agape Love

A reading for Thursday, May 1, 2014: John 15:12-27.

There are three words for love in the Greek New Testament, Eros, Philos, and Agape. Each is different, though all are translated into English as love.

Eros is romantic love between a man and a woman. This is intimate love, sensual love based first on attraction. This is love expecting to be loved in return by another in a physical way.

Philos is friendship love. This type of love also has a sense of give and take. It is a mutual affection between two people, who are loyal to one another and who look out for one another's best interest. This is brotherly (or sisterly) love.

Finally, there is agape love. This kind of love is selfless, giving love expecting nothing at all in return. This is the highest form of love. It is beyond physical, romantic love and more than friendship love. This is the love for one's children or could be for one's spouse as love that is beyond the physical, romantic love. This agape love is the kind of love Christians express as "spiritual love."

In the lesson today, Jesus commands the disciples to love on another as he has loved them. The word he uses for love is not eros, and it's not philos. It's agape love. Jesus asks those that follow him to love one another unconditionally and without reciprocity.

(By the way, the epistle lesson today 1 Peter 2:11-3:12 contains  example after example of this kind of love. Obey the emperor even if he is harsh and cruel, slaves obey your masters, husbands and wives obey one another even if the other does not obey God's word.)

Agape love demonstrates to the world around us who Jesus Christ is as our Lord and Savior and what God intends for the human condition. We are created for relationship, love in the highest order. When we exhibit agape love, others see our heart and give glory to God in heaven.


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