I love “love”… Real love. Authentic and selfless love. God’s version of love. It gives you and me a perfect and clear example of what real love is. God provided a way back to Him through Jesus’ work on the cross because He first loved us. And it lays the foundation for our existence as a Christ follower.
In Mark 12:28-31, Jesus was asked what the two greatest commandments were. His reply was to ‘love the Lord your God with all of your heart’ and to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. As Jesus was preparing His disciples before He was taken to die on the cross, He gave us a new commandment on love: “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.” John 13:34-35
The old commandment was to love others as ourselves, and the new commandment is to love others like Jesus loves us. This puts an entirely new standard on the way that we’re called to love one another! We’re not only to love others with our whole selves, but to love self-sacrificially. When I think of the way that Jesus loved others, the words unconditional, sacrificial, passionate, and selfless come to mind.
Jesus loved by healing the paralyzed man who interrupted His teaching (Mark 2). Jesus loved by supplying loaves of bread and fishes to thousands of hungry listeners (Matthew 15). Jesus loved by forgiving the adulteress who was seconds away from being stoned to death (John 8). Jesus loved by taking the death consequence that was sentenced to us because of our sin, and died on the cross in our place (Luke 23).
These moments show the depth of love that Jesus has for us, and the depth of love that’s expected to be given to others. We’re able to love like Jesus, because Jesus sets the example for us by the way we experience His love daily. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
Loving others is not only merely a one time act, but a way of life! The lifestyle of love is a mark showing people that we’re God’s disciples. We’ve experienced His love, and therefore able to love others to His degree.
Answer these questions to yourself: Do you find it difficult or easy to love in this way? How have you been impacted by God’s love? In what ways can you share that love with others today?