Devotion and Prayer for Week of February 12, 2012

Meditation for the Week beginning February 12, 2012

 

Jesus says; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

 

During this coming week many people will be making a big deal of Valentine’s Day, which is February 14th.  It is a day which has as its theme, the celebration of love. The history of this celebration has origins back in the 4th century A.D. in Rome and seems to have both  religious and pagan events in its history.  It is safe to say that for the most part Christian churches no longer consider or celebrate Valentine’s Day as a holiday.

 

Today the major celebrants and encouragers of this day, seem to be candy sellers, florists and of course the greeting card industry.  They encourage people to remember their loves ones with these special gifts.  After all who wouldn’t love to receive some jumbo strawberries dipped in rich chocolate or maybe receive a dozen red roses delivered to them.  All of us enjoy getting a greeting card that tells us that someone else was thinking of us and cared enough to send a card.  All of these things are expressions of love.

 

Yet, is this the type of love that Jesus was encouraging his disciples to have for one another and to show to others?  You would be right to think that Jesus was not talking about romantic love with his disciples.  In fact, Jesus was speaking about love in a much more intensive way and sense, one which is vastly different from romantic love.

 

Jesus had in mind two types of love.  First was that love which we often describe as brotherly/sisterly love.  The type of love that shows we love one another just for who they are.  This is love that recognizes that the person is probably not perfect and without faults, but we love them just the same.  This is a love that overlooks faults and makes allowances for shortcomings, but holds to an ardent love of the other person.

 

Secondly Jesus had in mind that very deep love that is self-sacrificing and expects nothing in return. It is the kind of love that Jesus shows to people when he gave up his life on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins.  It is the love that God shows to his people even when they sin and turn away from Him.  It is the love that awaits their return and is willing to forgive the most grievous sins.  This is the love that we have from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus’ direction to the disciples is, that if they practice to the best of their abilities these two types of love, other people will see the type of love that God has for his followers as shown in the lives of the disciples.  Celebrating that love is worthy of a holiday every day. So this Valentine’s Day, take the opportunity to tell your family and friends certainly that you love them, but more importantly that God loves them!

 

 Weekly Prayer Celebrating God’s Love

 Most gracious God, how great it is that You have created us in Your own image and that in spite of our rebellion and sin, You continue to love us.  Your love is so great that you have sent Your own son to earth to die for us, to grant us the forgiveness of our sins.  And beyond that you have promised to all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior the promise of eternal life with Him.  Thank You Lord for loving me and may I show by my love of others, how much I love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.