Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.”Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus said to his disciples:As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Jesus gets right to the point about love. It is not a feeling. It is not getting what we want. Love is about relationships centered on God and the love of God.
Jesus tells us that the greatest love is laying down our lives: self-sacrificing for another's well being. We all know that is truly the mark of love called agape love. Words are not enough, but actions and service, especially when it involves selflessness is the sign of love.
Our love as Christians is not in response to another person's loving action. Our love is based on the fact that we know God and have received His love first. We do not wait to love others because they were good to us and we owe them. It is also not acceptable for us to refuse to love someone who has wronged us. We owe them God-love. We must not be angry but pray for them and possibly witness to them with teaching or counsel or correction. We do it because God loves them and they need the love of God through us.
God as the good father makes sure that his children hear his words as a command when it is just that important. Nothing makes a parent happier than seeing their children acting on their words and spreading them to others.
When we know how important it is to love and have received it ourselves, we cannot hate anyone or turn our backs on those in need. We will desire healing and wholeness for all and the new life in Christ will be our joy to share. Today, think about the person or persons you know who are hurting and most in need of God’s mercy. Pray for them in Jesus’ name that they may receive the love of God, and if God directs you to do something for them, obey Him.