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No Greater Love

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“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13 (ESV)

Once more Jesus emphasizes His command, “love one another.” Yet this time he qualifies the command: “…love as I have loved you.” Jesus does not love us with a warm fuzzy love (like the lint you might find in your pocket just out of the dryer). No, Jesus loves with actions. Jesus loves sacrificially. True love, as Jesus loves, considers the well-being of the object of that love first and foremost. Jesus displayed this greatest love by laying down his life for us, to cover our sins. Jesus emphasizes this command again in verse 17: “These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” Clearly, Jesus expects, even requires us to love one another sacrificially as HE did.

In verse 16, Jesus tells us to bear fruit, fruit which abides in Him, finds it source, strength and rest in Him. In other words, we are called to make disciples, students who desire to imitate their master teacher, in this case Jesus. We are called to make disciples who will love other sacrificially because of the example they have seen in us, that they have seen Jesus love others through us.

To quote Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?” Considering what Jesus is calling us to do, to love one another, let us ask ourselves the following questions about how we should live.

When we encounter a panhandler at Walmart or Albertson’s, how do I show him the love of Christ?

When a mother of young children approaches you, asking for money to see her ‘live-in’ who is in an ABQ hospital, how do you respond in a God glorifying way with the love of Jesus?

When approached by a homeless person desiring a hair-cut because of the heat, how do I display the love of Christ to him?

When a mom of small children comes looking for work to cover the rent due today, just to make up the rent money she left with a trusted ‘friend,’ how do you love as Jesus would love?

These are descriptive of some of the encounters I have had in Gallup during the last four months. While money may fix the immediate ‘need,’ loving as Jesus loves often involves rolling up our sleeves, helping and embracing those who might not seem so ‘clean.’ We are called to personally invest in the lives of those who are broken and hurting, because we are called to love as Jesus loved us, completely and sacrificially.

Too often, we see ourselves as clean and righteous, perhaps believing we deserve the love the Jesus, yet before a Holy and Just God, we are no different those we are looking down upon. We need to repent, and do as Jesus does, sacrificially love even the least of these.

By Bill Emmerling
Pastor-Gallup Christian Church