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.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In the first lesson, we already mentioned that Jesus set the standard for sacrificial love. This lesson will expand upon this idea. Christians and non-Christians alike get hung up on Paul’s teachings about women being submissive to their husbands. This is not a lesson on that topic. What many fail to notice or realize is that the standard for husbands is set even higher. They are to love their wives like Christ loved the church. The verses above depict how much Jesus loved the church. It shows us that Jesus is love. Anyone who is showing that much love to their wife will not have a problem seeing that love being reciprocated. Likewise, a person showing that kind of love is not going to ask someone to do something that they wouldn’t naturally want to do out of love in return.
Jesus set the standard for love. We often mistake love for a vague, mushy feeling. The truth is though that love is action. “Actions speak louder than words” is an often quoted phrase. The truth is words are useless in love unless they are backed up by action. One may say they feel something, they might buy a card or flowers as a way of expressing these feelings, but if the feelings are not backed up by action, it will be found to be hollow.
Jesus was a man of action. He didn’t just talk about his love for people, He showed it. The only way that Jesus could truly express His love for people was by sacrificing Himself for their sins.
Of course we can’t die for anyone’s sins, we’re sinful ourselves. And we don’t need to because Jesus’ sacrifice was once-for-all. It was good for all of eternity. The point is that Jesus is the standard for love. We’ll never be called upon to sacrifice as much as He did. The sacrifices that we must make are minor compared to what Jesus did for us. He is the standard for how we should and must love.