Bethany and Don Lansaw had just enough time to hide in their bathtub when a tornado bore down on their home in Joplin, Mo. As the vicious storm destroyed their home and entire neighborhood, the young husband shielded his wife with his own body. It was only after the tornado passed that Bethany realized Don had made the ultimate sacrifice. He had given his life to save her own.
Today’s passage describes the sacrificial love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who gave His own life so we could live. And we are told that this type of love is a model for us. We are to love others as Christ loved us (v. 12).
We are to be like a mirror, reflecting in our own lives the love Christ has shown for us. He loved us with the ultimate act of sacrifice. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (v. 13). Not only did Jesus perform the ultimate act of sacrificial love on our behalf but He considered us His “friends.”
We live as His friends when we follow His commands (v. 14). First, we are to “remain in my love” (v. 9). The word remain implies that we have already been there. This is not a quality to strive toward but a characteristic to embrace. We have been loved completely. We need to recognize this gift and remain in that attitude of love.
Second, this type of love results in joy. Joy is not temporal happiness but a state of mind that is realized by staying connected to God. When we love, we are filled with His joy and made complete. Knowing how deeply we are loved, how could we not love others in the same way?