One cannot love until he has experienced God’s love. Even John, the “love” apostle, explains this truth when he says in 1 John 4:19, “we love because God loved us first.” I’d argue that all the apostles truly grasped this truth. They understood that no real life change can occur apart from a growing apprehension and experience of God’s love for us. Paul makes this crystal clear in his prayer for the Ephesians: “And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. May you have power with all God’s people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

The woman that Jesus met at the well in John 4, is an interesting study. She is often described as a woman who looked for love in all the wrong places. She moved from man to man, from husband to husband, and never found what she needed until she encountered Jesus who “knew all about her” and still loved her. She even left her water jar at the well and ran to town to call everyone to come see Jesus (John 4:28-30). Why? It wasn’t gratitude; that would have kept her at the well. Was it a new understanding that Jesus was the Christ? That should have kept her at the well with Him also. Most reasons you might consider lead me to think that she would have stayed with Him, not run off to get others. I would argue that what she found was so wonderful to her that she just had to share it with others. Boice says, “It was love, the love of the Lord Jesus already beginning to spring up within her. She had learned of this love from Christ. He had loved her, a sinful woman. Now she was to love as he loved. Before, she had loved in one sense only. It was an imperfect, human love. Perhaps it was even largely sexual. Now she was able to love with a measure of the love with which Christ had loved her. This was a divine love, and it changed her completely.”

Robert J. Thomas was a missionary in route to Pyongyang in Korea when a fight broke out between the American sailors and the Korean coast guard. The ship was burned and all the passengers were killed. As the ship was sinking, Robert leapt into the water and struggled to make his way to shore. He staggered out of the water with an arm load of books. They were Bibles. He thrust them into the hands of the Korean’s who clubbed him to death. It was through such love and commitment to his mission that the gospel first came to Korea in 1866. Today, Korea is one of the most Christian countries in the world. Today, there are over 12 million Christians in Korea. The biggest churches in the world in major denominations, including Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches, are all located in Seoul. Boice concludes his comments; “The Bible sets this pattern for us when it declares, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14–15).