No One Can Love Like Jesus, Right?
Last week, we took the time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and what that means to us as believers. Maybe you read as I did last week from John 15.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. –John 15:13
Jesus did that for us! There is no greater love that can be expressed than what He did for us! He not only said it, but He lived it. It’s the sort of ideal we imagine only Jesus could pull off.
Or is it?
I was convicted as I read the context. Let’s read the verses before and the verse after.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” –John 15:12-14
Jesus gives a command that you love your brother and sister as He loved you. You already know He laid down His life for you, that this was the expression of His love. Being His friend requires sacrifice. In all truth, being anyone’s friend requires some level of sacrifice, but Jesus not only commands you love as He loves, He’s worthy of that because He did it first.
“In a perfect world,” you think. “sure, I could love those knuckleheads around me, but these are some messed up people in my life.”
Jesus didn’t have broken, messed up people surrounding Him? Of course! And besides the immediate brokenness of His disciples, He was laying down His life for all the brokenness that would ever come after it.
But that’s Jesus–the Son of God! True, but He emptied Himself and took on the nature of servant (Philippians 2:5-7) so he was fully man: a man yielded completely to the Holy Spirit.
What does it look like to lay down your life for your friends (or in some cases “friends”)?
- It might be choosing loving tones and words when someone spews hateful or disrespectful words.
- It might be that when you see something you perceive is wrong in how your church body functions that you don’t criticize but you earnestly and fervently pray.
- It might be that some money you saved to treat yourself might be given to the family in need down the street.
There are as many scenarios as there are ways to love, and every one of them involves being surrendered to His heart and will instead of seeking your own.
You can certainly make sacrifices while resenting situations and people the entire time; but you can’t love someone without expressing it through sacrifice at some point.
I’ve been guilty of the former and experienced the both sides of the latter–each is humbling. Pride and selfishness make us think loving like Jesus is impossible, and though we may stumble, there is grace. Let’s just not forget that there’s grace to fulfill the command to love as well.
What are your thoughts here? Is this convicting to you as it was to me?