1 John 3:16
“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.”
It’s interesting to me how similar this verse is to the more well remembered words of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” I love what John prefaces this statement of truth with. Before he declares what Jesus did for us, he claims that this is how we know what love is. As if before this happened, we had no idea what love was. Obviously, we live in a day and time where this has happened, and we know what Christ did for us. We remember weekly the sacrifice that Christ made, and when we read the story, we can see how much love he needed to go to that cross.
However, there is a world out there that doesn’t know that. Maybe they’ve heard it, but it didn’t mean much to them. Maybe they’ve believed it, but the world convinced them otherwise. Maybe they’ve never heard it at all, and in fact they live right next door to you! We can’t deny that there is a world out there that doesn’t know what love is because they don’t know the One who invented it. How can we show what love is to the rest of the world? I believe 1 John gives us a good starting point. “We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Mostly we hear “brothers and sisters” and think of our church body. But it seems to me that when referring to Christ’s sacrifice, laying down your life is not an exclusive action. The Bible makes it clear that to love only those who love you is hardly love at all. So who are we laying down our lives for and what does that look like? Are we supposed to be up on a cross? Or are we laying down our personal lives, our financial lives, our comfortable lives, our safe lives, in order for the world to see what love really is? We know what love is because of what Christ did for us. Now it’s our job to let the world know just what love is.