John 15:13 says this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
If we were asked to describe Jesus in one word, many of us would choose LOVE. After all, He literally loved us to death. He gave His life as an act of love to pay the sin debt we all owe and to give us abundant life here on earth and eternal life in heaven.
Jesus demonstrated the greatest act of love possible when He gave His life in exchange for our freedom.
But that’s not the only reason many of us would use the word LOVE as the one word that we would use to describe Jesus. Jesus’ whole life and purpose was wrapped in love.
In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. This was meant to trip Jesus up and test Him, but Jesus answered with boldness, clarity, and confidence. He knew precisely what was the most valuable command of all.
His answer… LOVE.
Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus was making it clear that everything hinges on our willingness to love God and to love His people.
It all comes back to love.
That’s why Jesus went to the cross. It was for love, the kind of all encompassing, selfless, sacrificial love that has the power to save us and to change the world.
But how? How will people see, experience, and know the love of God now that Jesus, God in flesh, isn’t physically walking around on this earth anymore?
Well, before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples that He’d be leaving this earth and going to Heaven. He explained how things would continue on without His physical presence.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Again, it all comes back to LOVE.
It’s why Jesus came. It’s why He lived. It’s why He died, and it’s why He rose again. It’s also what He calls us to as His representatives here on earth.
Love is how we show we’re His disciples and it is how we spread His message.
In His great love, He didn’t leave us here to try to flounder our way through loving. He gave us Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, so that we have the power and ability to align ourselves with love.
John 14:15-16, 23, and 26 puts it this way, ““If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever… Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…”
And the most important thing Jesus taught: LOVE.
He taught us God’s love, but He also taught us that to fully love God, we must love others.
It’s a cycle. God loves us. He calls us to live out that love by loving others. Others see that love and
recognize it as God’s love. They love Him. The cycle continues.
But, for the cycle to continue, we have to be willing to live a life characterized by aligning ourselves with God’s love. We have to be willing to let the Holy Spirit teach us how to love God and love others.
It all comes back to love.
Father God, Thank you for your love. Thank you for sending Jesus to demonstrate that love to us. Thank
you for your willingness to include us in your plan to teach others about your love. Align us with love.
We want to love you fully and love others on your behalf. Fill us with love so that we can point others to your love.
In Jesus name, we ask this. Amen