How much better can you start your day than time with your sweetheart and then going to chapel and explaining love to 100 pre-k to 8th graders in 5 minutes or less?
I want to share two verses that you all know very well but I think are at the heart and soul of love. By the way, this does not reflect the content of my talk to the kids!
1 John 4:7-11 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Love is not an attribute of God on par with omnipresence, omniscience, etc. Those things describe God. Love is different because God is love. A man can be tall or short, large or small but those things have a different quality than to say that man is alive or has life. Both can be true descriptors but the quality is different. Love is different than how much God knows or how long he has existed, or where he is located in space and time. Love is the very core of who God is.
When Jesus was asked what the most important part of the whole Law was he didn’t point to a commandment or an ordinance. He didn’t point to any of God’s covenant initiation stories. He pointed to love.
Matthew 22:36-40 – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What does it mean for all the Law and Prophets to hang on these two commandments? The word hang, κρεμαννυμι (kremanumi), is a word that is typically used for something that physically hangs on another (eg – Gal 3:13). To hang on something is to depend on it.
“As objects hang on a nail, and falls if the nail does not hold, so that they are essentially dependent on it, so the details of moral conduct or individual requirements of the Law are dependent on the law of love…It means that the love of God is seen to be the sustaining basis of all human attitudes and actions.” TDNT, 3, 920.
If the nail of love slips from the wall all that it holds will tumble with it. Loveless obedience is not anchored in who God is because God is love. When Kittel can give you a warm and fuzzy Valentine’s Day you know you are a nerd.