What is love?

I frequently hear the phrase “falling in love” and “falling out of love”.  It is very common even within Christian circles for people to assume that love is an emotion: something that happens (like a lightning bolt or a chemistry experiment).  It is perfectly reasonable to reconsider a dating relationship if it is certain one will not be happy if the relationship grows into the lifetime relationship of marriage.  However, many marriages miserably fail because of the assumption that if the associated emotions are missing, then love must be absent, and therefore the lifetime commitment made at the wedding should be reconsidered.

Jesus the Messiah is the embodiment of perfect love and therefore the prime example. Ultimately, love is a choice that, while emotions are definitely involved, transcends emotion to commit selflessly to others.

When Jesus was about to be sacrificed for our sins, he experienced strong emotions that stressed him.  He naturally did not want to go through with this.  Nobody would.  He pleaded to his Father:

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.

Luke 22:42 (ESV)

Yet he knew what his mission was, let the love for his father and for his creation transcend his feelings, and conceded:

Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

Luke 22:42 (ESV)

Even after his concession, and even after an angel ministered to him, he still experienced agony:

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:43-44, ESV

Yet the Messiah still chose to complete his mission, became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and changed history for the better ever since.

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