Verse of the Day Devotion: John 15:13
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
To me, this verse is one of the most powerful in all of scripture, for it lays out clearly the greatest picture of love ever displayed. Just prior to our focus verse, Jesus commands them to love each other. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12. This is not the first time He has commanded this of His disciples. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:14. In this instance, He is telling them that by so loving one another, and acting out this love before others, everyone will know they are His disciples. It would not be like the Jewish leadership where they are known by their appearance, clothing, manner of speech or by the special customs they adhere to. It will be by the genuine love they share with each other.
Now, in John 15:12, He tells them again that they are to love each other just as I have loved you. But this time He takes it to a far greater level. Instead of seeing acts of love such as sharing, encouraging, or as Paul said in Romans 12:15, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice, which are all genuine acts of love, He tells them what the greatest exhibition of true love is, which is our focus verse, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.
No one can express their love for someone in a greater way than that they are willing to die for them. By this act of dying they are sacrificing everything they have and are for the sake of another. This is what Jesus did for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. God gave an example of this great love by Christ dying for us that we may be reconciled with the Father. Notice the words ‘while we were yet sinners. He loved us while we were still His enemies. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10
Now, who were/are Jesus’ friends? “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14. Those who obey Him. Those who give and devote their lives completely to Him. Those who truly know Jesus. And He knew who they were from the beginning. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30. Those who throughout history chose Him to save them. Those who committed their life to Him, those, as stated in Romans 15:14, do what He commands them to do.
And we are to have the same love for each other as Jesus has for us. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12. The kind of love He has for us is the type of love we are to have for each other. The type of love that is willing to give everything, up to and including our own lives. This is the type of love Paul spoke of to the Philippians. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; “ Philippians 2:3. This is what He has called us to, to have the same love for each other as He has for us. Let us all pray that when the time comes where we are in this position, that we will be willing to do what Jesus did.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.