Love - A Stretch?

One of the main places that Crux comes from, these four ideas of life, love, light, and truth, is from the "I AM"s in John's Gospel. These are seven statements that Jesus gives where he states, "I AM...." this or that. The seven are below:

  1. I AM the bread of life.
  2. I AM the light of the world.
  3. I AM the gate for the sheep.
  4. I AM the good shepherd.
  5. I AM the resurrection and the life.
  6. I AM the way, the truth, and the life.
  7. I AM the true vine.

Hang on....isn't one missing? We have life there, and light, and truth....but where's love? And what's with these references to the gate, and the way, and the vine, and the shepherd?

These are some great questions. I'm actually going to answer the last one first.

So there's a few references in there that I don't seem to have included. The gate, the way, the vine, the shepherd.....that all seems to be a bit different. But interestingly, the gate, the way, and the vine, are all pretty much talking about one thing: that there's only one way into Heaven. And that's through Jesus, the true way. In fact, the early church was known as The Way (e.g. Acts 9:2). All of this I cover under the banner of truth. These days, truth might seem to be relative, or subjective; but with God, truth is absolute. There is one way. And that way is Jesus. I should note here, however, that there are many ways to arrive at a gate. But to get through to the pasture, all must go through the gate. Likewise, people can come to Jesus wherever they may be, and whatever path they may travel on. But it is only through him that they have life. (Which leads us right back around! It's a nice circle.)

But what about the shepherd, you ask? Well, the story of the shepherd comes right after that of the gate. And this story is not about the way; rather, it is about sacrifice. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep....The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded." (John 10:11,17-18)

These verses bring to mind another passage that might be familiar to you. Written, also, by John. "God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (1 John 4:9-10) Sacrifice is love. Real love, the strongest kind.

So love is in the original I AM statements - it just takes a bit of looking! As a point of interest, though, this is where I first got it from; the previous two verses. "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)

God is love. There is incredible truth and joy in that statement - but for some, also a lot of pain. Because that's not the God that they have seen, or experienced. And so I want to invite you - to journey with me, and discover what this means for us.

Very soon, I'm going to be announcing the album launch date for God's Love Song. These songs tell a story; the story of God singing his love over us, wooing us across time and space back to him, to be with him. Of a loving Father, calling us home. I hope to see you there.