Summary: This is why Jesus made a sacrifice for you and me. Because he really loves us. A love that doesn't fail is a love that sacrifices. The world has no idea what this real love is, because the world is selfish.
According to John those who say they love God show it by obeying the Word of God. There were those who were false teachers during John's day who claimed that they were apostles, too, just like John. There were others who claimed that Jesus wasn't really human, he didn't really suffer and die as a human being. So how do we know that John is a credible witness and that what he says is true? First he tells us exactly who Jesus is, and second he tells us that those who know God obey Him. But is this enough? For many folks John hasn't provided enough proof.
This is after all what every body wants. Proof. John says we can believe his testimony because he lived his life like Jesus did. Ok, that makes him a credible witness for Jesus, he 'walked the talk' so to speak. But where is the proof that Jesus is who John says He is and that John is believable. John says Jesus is the Son of God and those who love him obey Him. So today the question we pose to John on the witness stand is, "John, you say that Jesus is the Son of God and that those who love Him obey Him." "Is this your testimony?" According to what we read in First John so far his answer is, "most definitely, yes." So we're going to press a little harder. "John, you say, Jesus is the Son of God and he loves us." "Where is your proof?"
This is John's response in chapter three, "We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters...Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God."
I don't know if its coincidence but I think its cool that the best friend of Jesus says in 1 John 3:16 what he records Jesus saying in his Gospel of John 3:16. Most Christians can quote John 3:16. The proof of who Jesus is and the love he has for us is discovered in his death, burial and resurrection. His willing sacrifice is the proof of his love for us. God sent his Son as a man into our world to prove what love really is. That's right, it took a man to prove what love is. So much of our culture today hates men and hates fathers. Most of the shows, especially the comedies on TV reflect dads as bumbling idiots who need smart and informed women to help make decisions, or to save them from their idiocy.
One of my favorite TV shows, "Everybody Loves Raymond" is a classic example. If you've seen the show you know that the main character Ray Barone is constantly in trouble because he did or said something stupid to his wife.
Most married guys can relate. It's true that sometimes there is conflict and tension in our marriage, because men and women can see things differently. But our culture, it seems to me, through TV, movies, music, and other mediums are painting men and fathers in a negative way. Today is Father's Day, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate this day than to point to the One who proved to us what love is.
For a second let's be counter cultural and honor dads. Let's recognize that if it wasn't for one man, Jesus, we wouldn't know how to live. If it wasn't for our Father God who sent his Son Jesus, to us, we wouldn't know how to love. Dads who follow Jesus play an especially important part in our world. They understand that their most significant job is to train their children to be followers of Jesus. Paul put it this way, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."
Dads who love Jesus, obey him, and they train their children to love Jesus, too. There are a lot of people in our world who are hungry for love. Real love. Genuine love. Most folks have no idea what this real love is. They search for love in all the wrong places and with the wrong people. There is only One who can show you real love. His name is Jesus. He proved this love by sacrificing Himself.
For those who are confused about what real love is here it is:
Real love is sacrificial.
This may not sound all that profound or life changing but it is. I tell my daughter that if a boy tells her he loves her he's lying. No boy her age has any idea what love really is. I tell her that if a boy tells her he loves her then she is to ask him if he's willing to die for her. If he says yes, then she is to introduce that boy to me. I'll take care of the rest. I'm joking of course, sort of, but you get the idea. Whatever you make sacrifices for, that is what you really love.