Agape- the word of wonder…

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

Sometimes, in my life, I find myself stressing over stuff, so this Sunday, I decided to preach on the love of God at the Broad St. Mission. I knew that it would “stay my soul”, so to speak, and hopefully bless others. While studying, I came across this passage from Wuest Word Studies in the New Testament.

“The pagan Greeks knew nothing of the love of self-sacrifice for one’s enemy which was exhibited at Calvary, therefore they had no word for that kind of love. In the New Testament, the writers seized upon the word “agape” as one that would express these exalted conceptions, therefore, the word agape, became the word to express this wonder and amazement of this action. In fact the word itself means- astonishment, wonder admiration, whereas the word phileo in Greek didn’t express the meaning they felt, for it is a love that is called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object. It is based upon an inner community between the person loving and the person or object loved. That is, both have things in common with another. The one loving finds a reflection of his own nature in the person or thing loved. It is a love of liking.
Here is the contrast of the two words:
Agape is the love of prizing.
Phileo is the love of liking.
Agape is the love of preciousness.
Phileo is the love of delight.
Agape is the love of esteem.
Phileo is a love called out of the heart by the apprehension of pleasurable qualities in the object loved.
Agape is a love called out of the heart by the apprehension of valuable qualities in the object loved.”

This is the quote that really stood out to me, please keep reading!

“The love exhibited at Calvary was called out of the heart of God because of the preciousness of each lost soul, precious to God because he sees in lost humanity His own image even though that image be marred by sin, precious to God because it is made of material which, through redemption, can be transformed into the very image of His dear Son. While it is a love based upon the estimation of the preciousness of the object loved, this is a love of self-sacrifice, complete self-sacrifice to the point of death to self.”

The question I had to ask myself was how many times I mix my Phileo with my Agape? I love ice cream and I love Jesus, or in Facebook world I am a Christian and I love drinking booze (I’m being obnoxious!). But the Lord saw fit to make sure we are made of material through which redemption can transform us into the very image of His dear Son. Redemption material, now I like the sound of that as well as the fact that God sees in lost humanity His image of Himself. I found myself bursting into song this morning while I was preaching: “He is the savior of my soul- My Jesus”. Oh let us prize this Jesus, the Savior of our souls!