Psalm of Praise: Psalms 68:4-6
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him, his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.
Bible Reading: John 15:12-14,17
My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
This is my command: Love one another.
In the upper room, at the last supper, as Jesus is approaching the day of his crucifixion, it seems all his teachings are being distilled down into this one commandment, ‘Love one another’. But what is love?
In the film, ‘Love story’, we are told ‘Love is never having to say you're sorry’, but John Lennon is quoted as saying, ‘Love is having to say you're sorry every five minutes.’ And in the musical ‘Carnival’ we are told, ‘Love makes the world go round’ while the poet Elizabeth Browning says, ‘Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.’ Defining love can be very confusing.
When Jesus is talking about love he says that the greatest demonstration of love is to lay down your life for someone else, something he was about to do for each of us. The word Jesus uses here, which we translate as ‘love’, is ‘agape’ which literally means ‘sacrificial love’, as opposed to ‘brotherly love’ or ‘sexual love’.
We probably won't be called on to literally lay down our lives for another person today, though many people have throughout history, but I wonder if there are ways we should be laying down our lives sacrificially for others each day.
Jesus said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ During his time with them, his disciples would have realised how much he loved them and how much he loved the poor, the sick and the sinner. They would also have seen how much he demonstrated his love for each of them. I wonder in what ways you have experienced God’s love for you. Could you express your love for those around you in a similar way?
If the love that Jesus is talking about is sacrificial love, in what ways might I make sacrifices today, putting someone else’s needs before my own?
Thank you, Lord Jesus that you showed your great love for me by sacrificing your life so that I could live.
Help me to live sacrificially for you, putting others’ needs before my own. Amen
How deep the father’s love.