“…love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. “ – Jesus quoted in John 15
Jesus didn’t just explain what true love is. He demonstrated ultimate love by dying on the cross for sin. The quote from 1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. .”
Elsewhere in the Bible, the Apostle Paul defines love with the famous quote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
What is love?…Love is ultimately sacrificial. It focuses centers so much on another that the self fades away in importance. This is true of the good Biblical love shown in the referenced verses describe and evil, destructive love brought to life in The Lord of the Rings through the symbol of the ring. The ring was loved for its power, so much that the individual, be it Gollums, Frodo or Saruman, was willing to give up everything to possess it.
We can choose to love that which is better than ourselves – Someone who is infinite, eternal and perfect – or something that is temporal, transient and imperfect. Jesus gives us the ultimate answer to this choice when He tells us to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). Jesus adds, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31).
That’s what love is according to Jesus.