March 8, 2017 – Wednesday
Read: 1 John 3:11-24
Focus: vs. 16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
One of the reasons we honor our military men and women to such a high degree is because we know we are the recipients of their sacrifice. Thankfully, not all men and women who serve end up giving their life in that service but their courage and willingness to protect us, and our freedoms, should make us truly thankful. This is why the uniform often makes me think about Jesus and how he gave up his life for me.
The greatest sacrifice, the sacrifice of one’s life, is the kind of sacrifice John talks about in our passage. Jesus laid down his life for us. Go ahead and read the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus and you’ll see it was a sacrifice. Jesus went willingly to that cross to save us from our sins. That brings us to this discussion of what love is. John wants us to know that the sacrifice of Jesus was God’s act of love towards his creation. He did it to save us. The next question that comes to mind is how does John say we should show this same kind of love to those around us?
A sacrificial love towards one another is a sign of what God has done within us. John is teaching us about how we know God resides within us. Verses 11-15 talk about the absence of hate. Verses 16-18 talk about the kind of love that results in actions and truth. Verses 19-24 talk about how our hearts do not condemn us. Then he summarizes the lesson to be learned in verse 23: we follow his commands to believe in the name of Jesus and to love one another.
What is love? It’s sacrificial in nature. Verse 17 brings up an example of what we do when we see a brother or sister in need of material possessions that we have. Do we have pity on them or do we ignore them and think of our own needs first and as greater needs than theirs? There are a lot of soft-hearted people in the world who don’t know Jesus. There are those who have all sorts of good and sacrificial characteristics who have no relationship with God. But if you are a Christian, sacrificial love is a characteristic that God is fixing within you, even if you didn’t have it before asking Jesus into your heart. What is love? John wants you to know that loving like Jesus means sacrificing our own wants and desires to see that others have what they need.
Maybe you won’t be called upon to sacrifice your life for another but John wants you to know that giving to others and meeting their needs out of what God has given you is a way to love others sacrificially like Jesus loves you. This is love.