Greater love has no man than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. -John 15:13
The love of God is perfect. God loves us because it's His character. He loves us not because of duty, but because it's who He is and what He does. Romans 5:6-8 says: “For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-tough perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God showed His love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died. Following Jesus' example, we are called to love others in the same way. Agape is the Greek word for this kind of selfless love or the love of the Father. It is purely spiritual. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandant, He said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40). Our love for God is expressed in our love for people and our love for people is expressed in our love for God. They are inseparable-two sides of the same coin. Agape love is unconditional, and it reflects God and can only be learned from God. Agape love is fueled by action because it requires us to seek the wellbeing of others without expecting anything in return. Moreover, Agape love requires us to also love and do good unto our enemies Luke 6:27-28 says: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Jesus loved and served the people around him. He demonstrated to us what love truly is. He was made an offering for SIN, for the sin of the whole world and He willingly went to the cross as a FREEWILL offering of Love, of his friends; who are His body, the church. And Christ loved and cherished the church so dearly, that He gave Himself for it - greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Jesus showed what perfect love is by his death on the cross for us. He laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). Laying down one’s life means literally dying for someone. You may ask, Who are our friends? This question is similar to the Pharisee’s question to Jesus: “Who is my neighbor.” To answer the question, Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). Based on this parable, we can conclude that our neighbor is anyone with whom we can share God’s love. We are called not only to love those that we know and are comfortable, but to all those that God places in our path.
We are to abide in Jesus, reflect His love and to love others in the same way that He loved us. It is only as we experience a deepening love for Jesus and all that He has done for us that we can begin to allow His love to flow into us and through us to others - so that in His power and strength we too may lay down our lives in service to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, and be willing to display the ultimate demonstration of love and follow His example and be willing to lay down our lives for our friends.