So far in John’s first letter, we’ve seen him refute the claims of the believers who had left the church by establishing that (1) Jesus was a person who physically existed in the world and (2) anyone who truly believes in him cannot continue living a life marked by sin.
Today we see how John completes his takedown of the departed faction—by addressing the fact that they do not follow Jesus’s command to love one another.
John writes that the cross is how we as believers know what love is. But this is not just an explanation of love; it is also an example of love. It is easy to talk the talk of being representatives of the loving, giving God; John urges us to walk the walk in our actions.
We ought to be willing to lay down our lives for one another, and on a more practical level, we ought to share what we have with those in need.
In summary, believers in the love of Jesus are to love like Jesus.
We get a glorious picture as we look to God to understand love. When God sent his Son into the world, he was sending him to come and die on the cross. It was God’s plan all along. Jesus was on a rescue mission, knowing what he would go through for our sakes. It was not that the cross was just a necessary evil on the pathway to a preferred future. Rather, the cross is the place where the glorious love of God is revealed and proclaimed to the whole world.
So we need not wonder what love is like; we can just look to our Savior on the cross.
Reflect: Take a moment to imagine what it was like for Jesus heading toward the cross. He laid down His life for you. Ask Him to stir your heart with love for others around you. Ask Him to show you how to love practically rather than merely talking about it.