The Greek word agape is one of the most important words in the New Testament. It means “unconditional love”—the no-strings-attached love with which God loves us. Agape’s Hebrew parallel in the Old Testament, hesed, is less familiar but no less important. It means “loyal love” and describes God’s everlasting love for His people, Israel (and Israel’s spiritual descendants, the church).
Loyalty is almost a lost value in today’s world. Everything seems to be for sale, including friendship, affection, and devotion—the things that make up loyalty. Even Jesus’ disciples found themselves lacking in loyalty on the day Jesus was crucified—all the disciples except one, that is. The disciple named John seems to have had a devotion to Jesus that the others lacked prior to His resurrection. John was the only one of the original band of disciples who stood at the foot of the cross in Jesus’ final hours. John was loyal to the very end. Every Christian should ask himself, “Would I have been there with John? Will I be loyal to Jesus regardless of the price?”
The deeper our understanding of God’s agape, the deeper the manifestation of our hesed.
David Jeremiah, David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Devotions: Holy Moments in the Presence of God (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).