John 15:12-14 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Love is a word that we use often in our everyday speaking. We say things like, “I love pizza,” “I just love these shoes,” or “I love this candidate.” Love is a word that is overused far too much in our society on trivial things and underused on important matters like our spouses, children and the most important people in our lives. In fact, the word love is not primarily something to be said, but rather something to be modeled. Love is an action in relation to the value you place on other people. The more you value a person the more you will show them love. Love is action, intense and passionate. Love is hard to define but easy to recognize. It is an affection that goes beyond just mere acquaintances.
When speaking to His disciples, Jesus just hours before going to the cross, made this command to His followers, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” What did Jesus do for His disciples? He lived with them every day; He spoke and taught them God’s truths; He ministered with them; He ate and prayed with them; He lived life with them. Jesus placed value in these twelve broken men and taught them about God’s plan on how to live life to the fullest. Jesus told the Apostles that they must “love” one another as He loved them. Jesus, for 3 years was modeling love for them and then, He took it to the next level. He says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus was telling His followers that love, authentic and genuine love, is sacrificial. Love is not selfish, but self-less.
Jesus was commanding His disciples to sacrificially love each other, even if it meant the giving of one’s life for another, which Jesus Himself demonstrated. How do we apply this scripture to our lives today? Jesus was clear that He commanded His followers to love each other. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When He said for us to love each other and also our neighbor (which is anyone other than yourself), we should live a sacrificial, unselfish life. In other words, He is telling us to be thinking of others more than ourselves. That is the key to a substantial, joy filled, fulfilling life -- not living for yourself but for others. Marriages, relationships, governments, and even the world would change if we lived these principles.