What does love look like?

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.’ John 15:12-14

This week, these words of Jesus pierced my heart. I had one of those moments where you grab the highlighter and start ferociously underlining a passage in your Bible!

1) Jesus loves us. Jesus loves YOU.

Firstly, we are loved. It’s basic, simple and we’ve most likely heard it before, but we are LOVED. This means that we are valued, we are cared for, we are the object of Jesus’ affection. That is amazing!

 Jesus says that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for their friends, and that is exactly what He has done for us. John 19:30 says of Jesus on the cross, ‘when he had received the drink, Jesus said “it is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.’

Jesus willingly gave His life for us. He willingly faced false accusation and beatings. He willingly gave up His spirit because He knew that it would win a victory for us that we could not win for ourselves.

What other God would lay down their life? What other God would humble themselves to the point of the cross? What other God would, in doing so, take our place in this way?

Love is not just a feeling, it is active and it is a choice. Jesus has demonstrated His love for you not just in words but also through action.

2) Jesus wants to be our friend.

Secondly, if we obey Jesus’ commands, He will call us ‘friend.’

Verse 16 in this passage continues by saying, ‘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.’

Jesus is not a distant God, He wants to be close to us and He entrusts to us the things that the Heavenly Father has made known to Him. A friend is someone who knows you and who you know on a deep level. A friend is someone you can trust and go to for support and encouragement. Friends share things with each other. Jesus wants to be a friend to us and this happens when we obey His commands and draw close to Him.

3) Jesus wants us to love others.

Thirdly and finally, our response to these profound truths about Jesus’ love and friendship for us must be to love one another. We cannot say we are a friend of Jesus if we do not love others the way He has loved us. Now, that can be a challenge!

Years ago, I was meeting a friend in London for dinner. It was rush hour and people had just finished work, so the streets were really busy. As I stood waiting at some traffic lights to cross the road, I heard the sound of somebody crying. I turned around and saw a lady who appeared to be homeless sat on the ground crying. I thought to myself ‘surely somebody will stop and ask her if she’s ok’ but nobody did, so I sat down next to her and started a conversation. She shared some of her story and as I listened, such a love and compassion for her came over me. Long story short, that evening I walked with her to a hotel and paid for her to spend the night there in a bed and to have a clean shower. I shared with her that Jesus loved her. As I walked home afterwards, I remember thinking to myself ‘how could I profess to love Jesus if I could have just walked past this lady and ignored her need?’  

We are to love other believers and also to love those we don’t know. We are to make sacrifices and demonstrate love through action, just as Jesus has done for us.

So, now what?

Can I encourage you today to love that colleague you are finding difficult, or that family member who keeps letting you down. Can I encourage you to love your neighbour and reach out to that person you know who is struggling.

As Saint Augustine said, ‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.’

Jesus, thank you that you love us. Help us to obey you by loving others in this way, and to demonstrate it through words and actions. Amen.

Proof of your love- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbbMTNTUZeg

- Susie Raybould
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