Do You Love Me?

by Edward Langenback

© April 30, 2002

Has anyone ever asked you the question "Do you love me?" For those of us who are Christians (genuine followers of Jesus), then the only possible answer is an emphatic "Yes!" Why? Because Jesus made it clear that love is most important.

John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

He gave a new commandment, one that by it's very nature sums up the totality of God's law, He insisted that we should each love one another in the same way that He loved us. How much did He love us? Easy, He died for us when we did not deserve it.

This verse also makes it possible to define love, which is something that poets, philosophers, artists and many others have been trying to define since time immemorial. People often make the basic mistake that love is an emotion, something that we feel when conditions and / or hormones and pheromones are just right. However, Jesus gave us a command to love. He did not say "love as many as you can." He wanted each of us to make a deliberate decision to love.

This is easily shown by looking at the word that was rendered 'love' by the translators, the Greek word agapao {pronounced ag-ap-ah'-o} [strongs number 25] and means to love (in a social or moral sense). To welcome, to entertain, to be well pleased with, to be contented. This is referring to a deliberate determination to love. A person makes the decision that I will love you no matter what you say or do and I will always treat you like someone that I love. Love, therefore, is not based on something as changeable and easily hurt as our feelings. It is based on a willingness to treat someone as one who is loved regardless. It does not matter if they love us in return or if they remember birthdays or anniversaries. What does matter is that we obey God and love them.

Someone reading this just objected: "But I can't love so-and-so! I don't even like them, and besides, they aren't my type." Wrong. This kind of love, as Jesus commanded, has nothing to do with liking someone or how they treat us. It is all about how we treat them. This is the way that God loves us. He doesn't wait until we act like we love Him. He does not wait until we acknowledge His existence. God DECIDED to love us. He acted on that decision by sending Jesus to the cross to redeem us from the penalty of sin. He did this even though we were not worth the trouble in and of ourselves. By doing so anyway, He made us worthwhile.

In the next verse, Jesus continues by explaining why He wants us to love one another:

John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

The word disciple was translated from the Greek mathetes {pronounced math-ay-tes'} [strongs number 3101] and means a learner, i.e., pupil: --disciple.

Webster's dictionary further defines a disciple as:

A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another.

This explains why those who were always around Jesus were called His disciples. They were following and learning from Him. That fact, that those of us who follow Jesus and obey His teachings, is therefore a sign or indicator to the world that we are His disciples.

It is also possible for people to see if we love Jesus or not by how we show that love:

John 14:21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

Simply put, if we love Jesus then we will obey His commandments. In short, we will do what He asks of us if we really love Him.

John 15:9, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love."

John 15:10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

In the above two verses, both 'continue ye' and 'abide' are translated from the same key Greek word: meno {pronounced men'-o} [strongs nubmer 3306] a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): --abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry. We are to live constantly in His decision to love us regardless of our worthiness of that love. By centering our lives in His decision to love and obeying His command to love others, then not only are we blessed, people around us are as well. Non-Christians, that we encounter, will be able to see the effect of these decisions to love in our lives. They will see that we have peace in every situation and that we live happier, less stressful lives. This will often cause curiosity, driving people to ask things like "why are you always so happy?" "Why did you help so-and-so after they did that to you?" These kinds of questions open the way for us to tell them the source of our peace: The love of God in Jesus The Anointed One.

John 15:11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

The word joy in this verse is translated form the Greek chara {pronounced khar-ah'} [strongs number 5479] and means cheerfulness, i.e., calm delight: --gladness Joy is the result of love and is the true source of our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10, "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

The strength referred to here is not just physical muscle power, this is strength is much more. In this verse strength is translated from the Hebrew word ma`owz {pronounced maw-oze'} [strongs number 4581] and has a very full meaning: A place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold, harbour, stronghold, protection.

The joy of the Lord isn't us feeling all happy and blissful because God loves us or that we're doing His will. The joy of the Lord is God's gladness. When someone accepts Jesus as Lord of their life God is glad, happy, cheerful and delighted. That joy results in strength in all it's forms being made available to us. Not because we deserve or even need it, but simply because He loves us enough to give us such a gift.