Love as Jesus Loved
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4.7-12).
I love the tone of John’s writing. Clearly, he is a great lover of people. He refers to the church to whom he is writing as “little children” and “dear friends.” John is all about love!
Here’s what he writes in verses 16b-17, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”
Last week, we talked about walking as Jesus walked. And Jesus walked in love. He loved everybody! He never turned away anyone who earnestly sought Him in faith—not even a couple of Pharisees who occupied seats on the very court that condemned Him.
Why was Jesus such a lover of people? Simple. He was the exact representation of His Father. We saw it last night in class! Philip says, “Jesus, show us the Father!”
“Philip, what are you talking about? You’ve been walking with me for three years! I’ve been showing you the Father! Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14.9)
Jesus was the spittin’ image of His Father in heaven. Like Father, like Son! “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1.3).
God is love. It is His nature to love. And God cannot change! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, when God became flesh it was a foregone conclusion that even in human form, He would be a great lover of people.
I saw The Passion of the Christ twice in the theatres. Deborah and I try to watch it about once a year. My dad had never seen it. But He said to me, “Next time you come to Abilene, I want to watch that movie. I need to see the images of what He went through that day so I can better grasp of the great love Jesus has for me.”
Last Thursday, we made a run up to Abilene to deliver supplies to my 87 year-old parents. While Deborah styled my mother’s hair, I watched the movie with my dad. We saw the beating, the scourging, the walk to Golgotha, and the crucifixion. Of course, we cried together as Jim Caviezel’s character said, “It is finished” and breathed His last.
God the Father is love. The sending of His only begotten Son is the proof. God the Son is love. His willingness to lay down His life for us is the proof. And now, we who are His little children are expected to walk in love—to walk as Jesus walked.
Love is the great test of discipleship and I believe it is the hardest test. It all comes down to love. I know I am hard to love. I have certain habits, quirks, and a stubbornness that makes me difficult to love.
I have people in my life who are hard to love. But the example of Jesus says, “Love ‘em anyway,” because that’s what He did. Pilate, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, the soldiers who beat him within an inch of his life and then nailed him to a cross, the mockers, spitters, and revilers—He loved them all. “Forgive them, Father. They don’t understand what they’re doing.”
It all comes down to love.
Jesus tells the disciples, “Here’s how the world will know you belong to me—by the way you love one another.”
John, the apostles Jesus loved, was paying attention. He gets it. He writes to this little church, “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
See, we can claim to know God, abide in God, and walk in the light with God until we’re blue in the face. But what’s the proof? According to John, the proof is we trust in the name of Jesus, we walk in obedience as Jesus walked, and we love one another.
I hear many people who in their last years of life say, “I only hope I’ve done enough.” Enough what? Potluck casseroles? Dollar bills tossed to the homeless? Checks written to the church?
Folks, the only thing we can never do enough of … is love. We can always love more. Let’s love as Jesus loved--unconditionally and abundantly.
“Little children let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God.”