1 Corinthians 13 – “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” NASB
Let’s pull all this together if we can as we consider AGAPE! One of the most prolific pictures of what we are talking about can be seen in the story of The Last Supper in John 13. Follow the narrative with me:
It was a very bad night! The disciples knew something was up, so it had become a very tense night. They were bickering among themselves about what their position in the coming Kingdom would be. “Who Is The Greatest?” In truth, it was a religious-political campaign everyone was jockeying for position.
The table was fine. The place settings were okay, but near the door, there was a little table with a towel and a jar of water. It filled each mind because they all knew that somebody was supposed to kneel at the door and wash the feet of the others. It was custom, like a handshake in our western society. But the lowest slave or person in the house was to do it and at this point, nobody wanted to assume that position. They were all too important, in their own eyes. They reclined at the table which meant that their dirty feet were under the nose of the person beside them. It is Obvious!
Remember, this is The Last Supper, although they didn’t grasp that at the moment. What a sight! I have to wonder what Jesus might have been thinking. He has obviously observed their unhappy faces. So, what motivated Him? He could have assumed the role of a martyr and thought, “Somebody has to wash the feet. I guess it’s up to me again, this bunch never helps!” He could have thought, “If I don’t do it, they’re going to be disappointed after all good old Jesus, He always comes through.” He could have thought, “They never listen. Even after three years, they are still arguing. Maybe if I wash their feet, I can shame them into putting an end to the fighting.” NO! He did none of that, it was AGAPE!
Look at verses 3-4 – – This is incredible! He Knew Who He Was. Out of the fullest inner knowledge of Who, He Was and because He Love them, he acted. It was for their benefit that He rose and washed their feet! Do you understand AGAPE? He never sought their “happiness” that would have been cruel. That is not Love! He is and always seeks their and our highest and best.
At the meal, the Revelation of what Peter was going to do is disclosed by the Master. Peter is going to do it again. Of all nights, the night Jesus needs him the most he is going to fail. But if Jesus had been operating out of Eros, he would not have been able to reveal this to Peter because after all Peter would be upset and might lose it. In that mode, He might have said, “Peter, instead of coming with us tonight why don’t you stay home and rest.” That would have been the Eros approach to protecting him, that’s how we operate. We are not seeking their highest good we are seeking peace and usually status quo.
Instead, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired you to sift you as wheat.” Now, that hurts! Imagine Peter’s thoughts, “Jesus, you always get so personal, and you say this in public. This is supposed to be a night of celebration and you embarrass me like this.” Peter’s inquiry must have been, “Ok Jesus, what are you, going to do about it?” Jesus said, “I’ve prayed for you.” Is That It?
Then the Lord says, “Before the rooster crows….” Jesus leaves no question as to where Peter is headed. He left Peter with no choices. Remember, never once did Jesus “despise” or “reject” Peter. Even after the entire ordeal, Jesus never brought it up. He Agaped Him! But He never protected him from his failures in the name of Love. AGAPE submits to God’s plan not the plan of man. We cannot change anyone’s life. We cannot truly rescue anyone! Only AGAPE can!
Psalms 49-7-9 – – “No man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever. That he should live eternally and not go down to the pit.”
Therefore, stop trying to “save” or “protect” them! Stop trying to do something to make God save them. Stop trying to twist God’s arm or manipulate them. Leave it in the hands of the Lord. When you manipulate, lie for, cover for, deny the truth, you come away feeling you didn’t do enough. Truth – You Didn’t because You are not God!
Trust that Love – AGAPE! It is unconditional. It is eternal. It is free. It is God’s choice. It is not what we do or don’t do it is Who God Is! It is vital that each of us “receive” AGAPE! That we come to “know” that we are loved unconditionally. At that point, we can minister AGAPE to others but not until then.
You cannot give what you do not possess. Otherwise, you will continue to try to find someone or something to fill that “hole inside.” You will continue to try to be their savior. You are not God! So, resign and let God be God. This will set you free if you will receive it. You will be free to love. You will be free from the need to perform. You will truly be Free – Free At Last!
It is my genuine prayer that this has been beneficial in at least some small way and has opened the door for you to take another look at LOVE. May the Lord lead you into AGAPE and enable you to minister out of AGAPE to others.
May the blessings of the Lord be yours in all things!