Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- 1 John 3:16
Hebrew G1097 says the word 'perceive' means to ‘know,’ so why didn’t the writer just use the word, know?
Websters 1828 dictionary points towards a slightly different direction, and states, “to receive impression through the senses, such as to perceive the cold or ice or the taste of honey” , “to be affected by”
Webster alludes to experiencing with our eyes closed. Those things are sensed!
We can know about the love of God in our heads, and we can hear about it with our ears, but God wants us to feel it deep within our beings.
In our key scripture, John says this is how we perceive the love of God, this is how we sense Him, this is how we can close our eyes and KNOW he loves us because He laid down his life for us in the death of His Son.
We can read about the love of God in the Bible and hear it from preachers, but let's look at the deeper meaning of someone laying down their life for us when the fear of death is our No.1 fear.
John was present at Jesus’ execution, but he wrote this passage for those who would come after him. Other than those who saw Jesus after His resurrection, everybody else has had to either read or hear about Him — or feel His presence in their senses.
Stop and think about a person who had only one aim all through his in life — to bring the Kingdom of God to earth in all its wisdom, knowledge and power. The gateway to that aim was Love.
If we close our eyes and think about these three important things, His aim, His life and His eventual death on the Cross, we can sense the single-mindedness. We perceive that love deep in our hearts because it makes no sense to the brain that someone would do that for us. So hearing about it is only good if that seed goes deeper.
How much love do you have for God? Does the Cross make you weep at times for what it represents in your life? Does it make you sorry for the wrong thoughts and actions you have had or done?
Jesus, our Saviour, laid down His life for us. We cannot repay by laying down our lives to save our Saviour. That won't work. So John says we should lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters in Christ, our real family, our brethren.
Passing the blessings forward to other people is the only way to spend our servanthood, and to bless those who can't repay.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for Jesus' death and resurrection. Thank you that I can feel your Love through that Cross experience, and the love of those who have helped me through life. Please help me to sense you deeper, to love you more, to love others as you have loved me.