Jesus describes love

2010 Feb 2

A friend's pastor made a significant point in his Sunday message:

  • The scripture "If you love me you will obey my commandments" (John 14:15) is not a condition of God's love; it is a description of God's love.

Wow, I love this quote! This isn't a common view because it is a radical change in thinking from a superficial reading of the verse. But we can see from the context that it is correct.

At 15:10, Jesus again says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love". But then he continues with an amazing statement, "just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love."

We can be certain that the Father's love was never conditional to Jesus, therefore, the meaning must be something else. If we see that Jesus was teaching us about what the love of God is ("describing" it to us), it does make sense. However, then also we need to know Jesus' commands to us.

Jesus tells us (at 15:12), "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." Because this command is so important, he repeats it again at 15:17. (See also)

Jesus' love to us was a sacrificial love for the benefit of others that was best shown to us on the cross. This is a value system. It is God's value system, and it describes his love. It was for this task that the Father sent Jesus to earth. Because the Father and Jesus have the same value system, they are of one mind. They don't have conflict, and their love for each other (their relationship) always remains steady.

Jesus commands us to adopt God's value system and love each other like he loved us. When we follow this one command, we will fulfill all that God wants of us, and conflict with God is removed, leaving only his love for us.


The value system perspective used here is based on ideas from the work of Darren Twa.