There is a stunning difference between the love that human beings express towards each other and the love which God has expressed towards us. When the New Testament was written in Greek, the word “agape” did not exist. The Greeks had words to described the love between a husband and wife (eros), the love between friends (philia), and the love between a parent and a child (storge). The term “agape,” was created to describe the type of love which was formerly unknown to the world, prior to the arrival of Jesus. Agape is a sacrificial love that is done for the sole interest of the one who is receiving the love. The love which Jesus exhibited in giving up His life for the very people who put Him to death–defines this new type of love.
David wrote in Psalm 35:11-12, that the Messiah would love, even those who were torturing Him and placing Him on the cross.
Psalms 35:11-12 “Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know. They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.”
There is an idiom that says: “No good deed goes unpunished.” We might speak the words to this little phrase after we have done what we imagined was a good work, only to have those who were the object of our good deed—turn against us in anger or betrayal.
Although Jesus created the universe (Colossians 1:17), when He came to the earth to give His life for the world—evil men tortured Him repeatedly as He was dying for their salvation. David records this event well in advance of its fulfillment: They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.
Isaiah described the Messiah as “a man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3). Not that He would be a depressed man, unable to lift Himself out of the doldrums of sadness, but His mission for man would bring Him to halting emotions of sorrow.
John 11:32-36 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Even the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus, could see His intense love for Lazarus.
As we read through the four gospels and hear the words of Jesus, it is impossible to deny the great love that He has for all people. Here, Lazarus had died because of the effects of his sins—yet Jesus loved him intensely. Some have the idea that God could not possible love them because of the many sins of their life. In fact, Jesus came into the world for sinners. It was because of our failures that He came to give His life for us.
The horrors that all of us face while living our lives, Jesus observed with His own eyes. Because of His compassion, He volunteered Himself for us—before the foundation of the world. God is not willing that anyone should be lost eternally—therefore, He sent His only Son to bear the consequences of our sins and take them away from us.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In this, we see the love of God in action. “God so loved the world that He gave.” When a human loves someone, it is most often in reference to something that another person has done for them—and with the expectation of being loved in return. When God loves, He is the one who does the giving. His love is sacrificial and without reciprocation from those whom He loves.
When God says that He loves, He expresses His love by actions that are eternally beneficial towards those whom He loves. We were lost with no hope of saving ourselves, God did something; He gave us His only Son. Those who receive Jesus, experience the forgiveness of their sins and receive eternal life.
1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
In order that we might recognize God’s love for us, He told us ahead of time—who He was going to send to help us and what He would be like. God described the Messiah by these 365 Old Testament prophecies, in rich and stunning detail so that no one would fail to recognize Him when He arrived.
This 97th prophecy declares that when the Messiah comes to earth, all the good things that He does for people and all the love that He exhibits, will be rewarded by hatred, brutality, and death. We are a puzzling creation, capable of such wonderful acts of love and kindness—moments later, capable of anger, violence, injury, or death.
This propensity towards wrongful actions, defines us as “sinners” or imperfect beings. It is while we were in this condition as sinners that Jesus came to die for us. Even when we were at our very worst, Jesus was loving us—and He was willing to come and die—even for the worst of us.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Again, Paul declares that God has not simply stated that He loves us; He has demonstrated this Love by sending His Son to die for us.
Think of the worst thing that you have done in your life—that moment that you are most ashamed of and would do anything to change if you could.
It was at that moment when Jesus was loving you the most. It was for all the moments of our greatest shame that He came to earth and allowed evil men to torture Him to death. Jesus took the punishment that you and I deserved, so that the horrible record of our sins and shame could be erased forever.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Jesus came to save sinners. If you know that you are one, then you should understand that He came for you. If you receive Him as your Savior, then you can have confidence in the authority of God’s word that all your sins are forgiven and eternal life is yours.
In this, we see the Love of God manifested. Not that we loved Him, but that He first loved us–even when we did not know Him, and while we were in the midst of our sins.
 1. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death
2. Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
3. John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.