John has been moving us to this passage. Up until now, he has been describing what the new life is and what it is not. In this passage, he reveals what he learned while walking with Jesus for three years.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
John is speaking of attitude. God’s attitude toward people, His creation, is love and compassion. HE MADE US! And God has compassion on us, His children. He loves us so much that He gave us the right to choose to love Him. THAT’S BIG, because it means that people have the right to choose NOT Him, which explains the mess our world is in.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
In case you missed it, John spells it out: God Is Love. He is the definition and the embodiment of love. God’s love is shown through compassion. Jesus had compassion for people. Matthew 9:36 says, When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew mentions compassion three more times concerning Jesus, 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15:32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” 20:34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. In each case, Jesus had their best interest at heart and did something about it. We would do well to emulate Him.
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
John would know. He was there.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
God initiates salvation. He comes to us and invites us to be a part of His kingdom, His family. We accept His invitation by welcoming Him into our hearts and lives. He has already done all the “heavy-lifting.”
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
If we allow the love of God to flow through us, we become extensions of Him. People see God in us. His love flowing through us transforms us even as it flows to those around us. We complete the connection of God with His world. Through us, His current of love can flow. Are you ready?
John says that no one has ever seen God, but Jesus said that if they have seen Him, then they have seen the Father. Jesus is the exact representation of God. Let’s look at the verses:
John 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
If people are to see God, they will have to see Him in and through us, just like Jesus. The best way I know is to show compassion on our enemies. I’m going to quote a passage that is used THREE TIMES in the Bible:
Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (22) In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
Jesus used it in an expanded version and illustrated it for us: 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Paul used it as a quote from Proverbs: Romans 12:19-21 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” says the Lord. (20) On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The idea is to show the love of Christ through our actions as if we are God to them. We ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Better yet, we say, “Jesus, what would You have me do?” The Spirit inside us tells us what to do. If we ask for it, He will download compassion to you right then. He has for me. I’ll never get over it.
Let’s be righteous ambassadors for Christ to a fallen world. Let’s allow God’s love to flow through us–especially to our enemies!