Acts 4: 5-12
1 John 3: 16-24
John 10: 11-18
1 John 3:16
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us– and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
1 John 3:16 again recalls John’s Gospel and that great text where Jesus sets the command to love one another in the even greater context of his own revelatory love: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). Here the communal love for brother and sister is placed in the context of the redemptive love that Christ shows for all of humankind on the cross.
1 John makes the same connection between our love for each other and Christ’s love for us. “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 John 3:16). Here we glimpse the depth of the gift and the gravity of the demand. Christ gives unconditional love for us, even to the point of death. And he demands our unconditional love for each other, even to the point of death.
Yet, as preachers so often do, the preacher who writes this epistle tries to show what love to the point of death might mean, not just at the extreme moments of sacrifice, but in the daily give and take of the loving life. Concretely, such love means charity. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help?” (1 John 3:17).
-Excerpt from David Barlett’s commentary