The Greatest of These Is Love (1 John 3:1-2)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. … Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1–2 ESV)
Queen Victoria’s Love for Prince Albert
Until recently, Queen Victoria was the longest-reigning monarch in English history. While only fifth in line of succession at birth, Victoria, through a series of circumstances, became the presumptive heir to the throne, and her coronation took place at Westminster Abbey shortly after her eighteenth birthday. She reigned for almost sixty-four years from 1837 until 1901. At age twenty-one, she married the love of her life, Prince Albert. The two shared twenty happy years of marriage and had nine children, but in 1861 Albert died of typhoid fever. Victoria went into a state of deep mourning, wore black for the rest of her life, and hardly ever appeared in public.
God’s Love for Sinful Humanity
While a wife’s love for her husband, or a husband’s love for his wife, is one of the most beautiful affections this world can offer, the Bible tells us about an even greater love: the love of God for the creatures he has made. While humanity sadly rebelled against the Creator, John tells us in his Gospel that “God so loved the world that that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In his first letter, John marvels, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
He adds, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). There is nothing more comforting in this life than to know the deep, deep love of God for us. The Bible tells us that in Christ, God did not merely save us from our sins, he adopted us as his children. Even on a human level, adopting a child is an expression of great love, grace, and compassion; how much more should we relish our Father’s love for us in Christ!
The Greatest of These Is Love
Upon the death of her husband, whom she had loved so dearly, Victoria was inconsolable. While, later in life, she found solace in the company of her late husband’s servant, John Brown, her mourning for her husband plunged her into deep agony. As children of our heavenly Father, we know that God loves us with a love whose sweetness and preciousness words cannot adequately express. Even when we suffer great loss in this life, we can derive immeasurable comfort and hope from the assurance that God loves us deeply and eternally. “The greatest of these is love.”
On Queen Victoria, see the Wikipedia entry here.
For another devotional, see “Has Jesus Lost His Mind? The Charge of Lunacy” here.