As I Have Loved You



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

John 15:12–13

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


Being like Jesus can be just plain hard. In my pastoral work, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years with people struggling with a challenging relationship, or processing a relationship in which they feel a separation has emerged. Inevitably, many of those conversations have ended up in a similar place. To break the cycle, one of the two people must act like Jesus. They will have to love that other person as Jesus would—sacrificially, consistently, and with no expectation of return.

In virtually every case, the person has balked. I understand why because I’ve felt the same hesitation myself. “I’m not Jesus! How in the world will I be able to love this person unconditionally who is acting so poorly toward me?” On your own, you can’t. But Jesus, loving through you, can.

Jesus is a rubber-meets-the-road kind of Rabbi in the School of Union and Love. One moment, we’re sitting at his feet, enjoying all the comforts that come with knowing we are seen, known, valued, and loved. Then Jesus says words like this in John 15:12–13 and things get real:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

“Love each other . . .” Okay, Lord. I will love my brothers and my sisters to the very best of my ability. But if I do my best, and I can’t pull it off, I know you’ll understand. I’ll call it a day (and I may, perhaps, talk to others about why I couldn’t handle their broken attitude and failure of discipleship). But then I’ll move on—reluctantly, of course.

But Jesus won’t let us leave off the second part of his sentence. He waits for us to read it and to really apprehend its meaning: “Love each other . . . as I have loved you.” And how have you loved us, Jesus?

Completely. Fully. Without reservation. Through it all. Through trouble. Through misunderstanding. Through fear. Through disobedience. You stay. You love. You heal from within the mess—not from outside of it.

“As I have loved you” can mean only one thing. I must be willing to die, in a hundred small ways, for my brother or sister. That is how we love. That is how I am to love my brother and sister. (I would note that I don’t believe that this passage means we always need to stay in a hard situation with a fellow Christian or fellow Christians. But I do believe we need to continue to love and forgive our brother or sister in Christ through it.)

In the real world, this feels like emotional rocket science. Laying down my life for another, especially when I’ve been hurt by them, is difficult. 

Laying down my need for that person to humble themselves first and ask for my forgiveness? Laying down my time when it’s inconvenient? Laying down my opinions when I’m sure I’m right? Laying down my reputation to stand beside someone who made a mistake and needs my support? Laying down my anger against someone who hurt me? Laying down my efforts to build my own kingdom and care for my own circle above all others? Laying down my need to hoard what I perceive to be my resources to make sure I always have enough? These are challenging questions for all of us.

Jesus sees. Jesus knows. And this one thing he knows above all. We cannot love each other as he has loved us—without him loving others through us.

Christ in us can love people through us—as he has loved us. Living in union with him, we can get there from here.

Peter heard what Jesus said, and wrote these words: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

We can only love as expansively as Jesus loves because the Holy Spirit is in us, and will help us. Jesus, help us love one another today as you have loved us.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. There is a story of your unified church in our generation of which I want to be a part. Teach me how you want me to love those brothers and sisters in my circle of relationships. I want to learn how to lay my life down for each one. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


How could you prepare your heart for the next challenge you might face with a fellow believer or believers? How has Jesus loved you, and how does the “as I have loved you” principle apply to your life?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. This morning Jesus was preparing my heart to love more. I woke up with this poem forming within me.

    People have skin
    Of different hues
    But didn’t choose
    Whose hues are whose.
    Please don’t refuse
    To love all hues.
    For healing views
    Based on true news
    Google the book,
    “Off the Race Track–
    From Color-Blind
    To Color-Kind.”

    1. If you’re a Christian you are called to take the witness stand for Christ, to proclaim the Good News about Jesus, and to tell what He has done and is doing in your life. If you are a Christ-follower you are a preacher–a clergy person. Daily experience His love and preach it! Stay with your calling. Don’t stray from it.

  2. Although I’m not a clergy person, I too have had the unfortunate experience of trying to mediate between two fellow believers who steadfastly refused to sacrifice human their pride in self. What’s really sad is that Jesus also said earlier, to these same disciples, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) I believe that the highly fragmented institutional church is one of, if not the main reasons for it’s decline in the West. A house divided upon itself applies to the Church catholic, as well to local congregations and individuals. A Spirit empowered reconciliation is a major key needed to bring about the next Great Awakening.

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