Agape – Love per McCarthy in 6-12-2012
Love is used in the New Testament 338 times. In the Greek there were three words for love --- eros, agapé, and philia. Eros is the love is often the passionate love whose symbol is Cupid or love of beauty which fills you with euphoria. Philia is love of family, friends and things. In the New Testament, there are no occurrences of the eros type love. Not to use eros had to be intentional. On the other hand, agapé is used for love 319 times and philia is used 19 times.
So what are the characteristics of agapé?
- It is the willingness to serve without desire for reciprocation. In the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, Isaiah verbalizes the high point of this non-violent disposition. Is. 42:1
- It is the willingness to suffer without retaliation. It is summed up in the New Testament in requiring forgiveness 70 times 7 times.(Note that Jesus does not say do nothing upon receipt of evil. Evil done can be the catalyst for good.)
- It is the willingness to reconcile without the desire to dominate. Somewhere in the NT, we are asked to reconcile (agapé love) before we pray. Note that in governments the willingness to reconcile is always based on a desire to get the most out of a situation.
Setting the Christian free comes with the responsibility to love as Jesus loves. The Christian must serve freely.