John is saying if you want to see the love of God for you on full display, in high definition, then look no further than Jesus Christ & Him crucified. Jesus is the revelation of God’s love wrapped in humanity and manifested among us through His life, death and resurrection. It’s His sacrifice on the cross for your sins that should grip your heart daily. Because the most compelling evidence we can give is to love one another, because you’re…
Overwhelmed by God’s Love for You
Revealed in the Sacrifice of Christ.
And this love is not a mere sentimentalism or strong emotion, as love, being hijacked by our culture, has often been defined. Actually, the love of God revealed in Christ is the most powerful force in the universe. Jesus’ self-sacrificing love, which secured our salvation at the cross, was the pinnacle of strength in the face of the darkest hate and injustice.
It reminds me of an African American man whom, in the spirit of Black History Month, I’d like to celebrate and honor as one in whom I see this same type of Christ-like, self-sacrificing love for a cause much greater than himself. It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who would become the face of the civil rights movement, especially after his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Inspired by Jesus’ non-violent Kingdom movement, Dr. King, along with so many others, in non-violent protest and civil disobedience, stood in the face of some of the darkest hatred and racial systemic injustice. He is quoted as saying, “I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.” He endured the evil that was being directed at him in order to see the people he loved so much experience the full benefits of freedom, to the point that it cost him his life. My own heart is filled with gratitude when I think of the sacrifice so many like Dr. King have made for me to exercise the rights promised me in this country, that I’m inspired to love others sacrificially and use my own influence for the cause of justice. Yet even this is just a small drop of water in the ocean of God’s love for you revealed in the sacrifice of Christ!
John wants us to be clear that love is not defined by our ability to love God, but rather by God taking the initiative to love us first by sending Jesus into the world who voluntarily took upon Himself the condemnation for your sins and gave you the gift of eternal life. The Apostle Paul captures this same gospel truth in Romans 5:8 when he says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Before you were ever drawn to Christ in repentance, Jesus went to the cross on your behalf and justified you freely by His grace. It was in the upper room that Jesus modeled this same type of sacrificial love for His disciples by washing their feet and then giving them the command to love each other in the same way He had just demonstrated. It’s then that Jesus says, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s amazing the things that we try to elevate as “the sign” that you are a true follower of Jesus, when all along Jesus said it’s by your sacrificial love for one another that the world will know.
This type of sacrificial love only happens when we are overwhelmed by the grace of God poured out on us through the cross of Christ. It flows out of your daily devotional reading of Scripture where you are specifically looking for pictures of Jesus or Him crucified that gave you assurance of salvation, then in prayer, going to the cross to receive His grace afresh. It’s when you’ve received grace that you can give grace. It’s when you’ve received forgiveness that you can give forgiveness. And we desperately need this in our homes and in the church. This means you are quick to forgive one another, to submit to one another, to serve one another and protect each others reputations.
Yet the problem is we can’t generate or produce this kind of love within ourselves, so John gives us some good news in verse 12.