“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.” John 15:12-17, NIV
“Love” has become the one word that has lost its true meaning the most in this world. It has shrunk so much in meaning that Tina Turner could ask in the 1980’s, “What’s love, but a secondhand emotion?” However, the love of God transcends this worldly love by far. It is not just cheap words and feelings. It is not temporary or short-lived. Jesus proved his love by giving his all, including sacrificing himself for us. This is the greatest form of love that Jesus mentioned in verse 13 – to lay down your life for your friends.
It is from this sacrificial love that Jesus gave us new life. He further boiled down his commands to the singular command – follow my example. Love each other as I have loved you. We were chosen by Christ for a life of love. We were appointed as his disciples to follow him and to share his love with the world. We are called to bear the fruit that the Father desires. This fruit, we have seen this week, is the love of God reaching the world; self-sacrificing, practical deeds of love. We become Jesus’ hands reaching out to our fellow man. We become his feet, going to the people in need around us, sharing love in a practical, transformational way.
To reach our goal, Jesus has unlocked the potential for us to pray. We are always connected to God in prayer. We pray to remember that we belong to him and to remember that we are dependent on his grace. We pray to submit our own will and desires to his way. We open our hearts to be filled with love overflowing, to satisfy the world’s hunger and thirst.
Jesus was so adamant about this one command that he repeated it three times, the night before he died. We see it again in verse 17, as we have seen it in John 13:34 and John15:12. Jesus commands us: love each other. This command must be obeyed in our marriages, in our parenthood, in our churches and wherever we go. The love of Christ must characterise our whole life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the love of God is the mightiest force in the universe. Through this love, you have created me, you have saved me and you gave me life. Help me, now, to be a channel of your love to all mankind around me. May people know your love when they see me today. Amen.