Posted by Glenn Packiam on 21 December 2017

Scripture: Romans 5:6-8 (CEB)

Love is the answer.

Love is all you need.

What the world needs now is love.

We use the word love so often and in such dramatic and poetic ways that it has lost its meaning. And its power.

What in the world do we mean by ‘love’?

When the Bible talks about love, it doesn’t do so in philosophical terms, dealing in abstractions or concepts. And though there is plenty of poetry in the Bible and much of it is a celebration of love—both divine and human—it doesn’t leave us with poetry alone so that we may construe love in whatever way we like.

When the Bible wants us to see love, it tells us a story. It tells us a story about a God who made the world out of His love and took pleasure in it; a God who called a people for Himself and made covenant with them out of His love. It tells us of a God who went after His people when they chased after other gods; a God who remained faithful when we were faithless; a God who took on flesh and entered our world. It tells us of a God who was faithful on our behalf, who suffered our death that we might live.

One of Jesus’ followers wrote many years later, ‘This is love: It is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.’ (1 John 4:10 CEB). We don’t understand love by looking at human displays of love; we don’t glimpse love by beginning with ourselves. We see love by looking at God.

And “God,” St. Paul wrote, “shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 CEB).

The poets are right to point us to love as the thing we need, the answer to our deepest longings and darkest woes. But the prophets—the writers of Scripture—point us to Jesus in order to reveal what Love is.

This Christmas, look again at the manger. See beyond it to the cross. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is Love.

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