By James Metsger
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16)
Have you ever been loved? Has some knight in shining armor showed up at your doorstep on his trusty steed (or Honda Civic) bearing gifts? Did he woo you until he won you? Did some young lady catch your eye at freshman orientation? Did she write sweet notes and dot her i’s with little hearts? Did she hold your hand until you finally fell for her?
I don’t know how it happened for you, but if it has happened, then you have experienced love. Something tells me thinking about it brings a smile to your face. I also think if I asked you to explain love to my seven-year-old, you’d wrestle with finding the right words. How do you know love? According to John, you know love because Jesus demonstrated love.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…
This isn’t “butterflies in the stomach” love. This love isn’t “lost in the clouds” love or “I just think he’s so cute” love. This is sacrificial love. It is extravagant love. God’s love for us is logic defying love. How do we know love? Look to Jesus. His love was on full display on a criminal’s cross. He held nothing back. He spared no expense. He laid down his life to redeem his brothers and sisters. This is God’s costly love.
This radical, self-giving love is what we are called to give to others. “And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” That’s a high bar. I’m not a fan of sharing my last piece of pie let alone my life. Yet, this is the love we have come to know. And because we have experienced this love in Christ, we are now called to extend it to our brothers and sisters. You’ve been loved. Now love one another.
Reflect: How do you love your brothers and sisters? How is it similar or dissimilar to the love of Christ?