“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13. NIV).
I am to love as He has loved me. And how much did He love me? He loved me enough to die for me. There is no greater love than this. To give the gift of your own life so that another might live is the greatest surrender of all. You hold nothing back. Jesus held nothing back on the cross. His death for my sake was the greatest sacrifice. He gave His life so that I could live with Him forever. He, who had never experienced sin, took my sin upon himself so that I might be free from sin's control. His love for me was all about obedience to His Father and sacrifice for my sake. It was all about love for me.
In John 15 we read Jesus' last words to His disciples before He lays down His life. His whole life up to this point has been one of preparation for the time of obedient sacrifice....the time He knew was drawing near. During three years He has spoken of God's love and demonstrated it in miraculous ways. But what He is about to do demonstrates the greatest love that can be given. The disciples do not understand it at this moment in their lives, but Jesus knows that they will understand soon. He knows that His words mean nothing unless He gives what His Father has called Him to give. He must give the ultimate gift of love so that they might believe and experience the love of God. Jesus tells them, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11, NIV).
To love others as He has loved me is not an option. It is His command for my life. If I will remain and abide in His love–if I will daily surrender my life to Him–if I will be renewed daily by His power–if I will give myself away for the sake of others as He has given His life for me, my joy in this life and in the next will be complete. What is my love for Him? Do I sacrifice as He sacrificed for me? Am I obedient as He was obedient for me? If He is my Savior and I have accepted the gift of His love for me, then I must live His love. I must hold nothing back in my love. I must give as He gave His life for me. I I must give up my wants and desires, my selfish attitude, and understand that to love with His love is never about me. There can be no “me” if I love with His love. There can only be Him. He is the greatest love.