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That’s All I Ask

Key References: John 15:12-17; The Desire of Ages, chap. 73, pp. 662-680; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 9, pp. 65-69; Our Beliefs, nos. 9, 10, 14

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“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:12, 13).

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Jesus asks us to love one another the way He loves us.

“I love to play soccer.” “I love mangoes.” “I love my dog. “I love my mom.” We use “love” in all kinds of ways. But love goes much deeper than really liking a favorite sport or food.

Through His life and death Jesus gave us a perfect example of what true love means.

That Thursday night Jesus knew that the very next day He would die on the cross. The prophecies about His suff ering and death would be fulfi lled right on time. There was so much He wanted to tell His disciples before all this happened!

Unfortunately, they weren’t ready to hear most of it. During the Last Supper, as Jesus was trying to prepare them for His death and teach them about its meaning, the disciples started arguing about which of them was most important! They had a long way to go in becoming like their Master, Jesus.

Jesus wanted Peter, Matthew, Thomas, and all the rest to understand what true love is. But He didn’t just tell them. He showed them. Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer robe, and tied a long towel around His waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ dusty feet.

Usually when people gathered for a dinner, a servant would wash their feet so the guests would feel clean and comfortable. But none of the disciples wanted to do the job of a servant. Instead, Jesus, their Master and Teacher, chose to serve. It was His last chance to show them how deeply He cared for each one of them—even Judas, who was planning to betray Him that very night.

When Jesus fi nished washing and drying their feet, He said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). He wanted His disciples to humbly meet the needs of others rather than bossing people around and trying to show off how great they were.

Later that night, as Jesus and the disciples were walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus talked more about following His example. “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said to them (John 15:12). He had already showed that we don’t love by being boastful and selfi sh. Instead, we love by serving and helping others. But He went on to explain that the greatest kind of love is to give up your life for your friends (see verse 13).

The very next day Jesus would show the world that “greater love” by giving up His life for His disciples and for each one of us. His death became the ultimate example of love and showed us how much God loves every person on earth.

“Love one another,” Jesus told His disciples that night before He died (John 13:34). This command was so important that He repeated it four times! It seems like a short, simple request. But it turns out to be the greatest request of all.

You see, Jesus didn’t love just His friends. He loved even His enemies! He asked God to forgive those who were nailing Him to the cross. He died for everyone on earth, regardless of whether they accept His salvation or not.

Sometimes loving and serving our friends and family is hard. Loving our enemies is much, much harder! We can look at Jesus’ example to see how to do it. But we will never be able to obey Jesus’ command without His supernatural help. He has all the power we need to change proud and selfish people into people who truly care about others.

Jesus wants us to be His friends, spending time with Him and learning from Him. “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you,” He told His disciples. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14, 15).

Jesus doesn’t want us to be like servants, blindly following orders just because we have to. Instead, as we get to know Him, we will want to follow His example. We will be happy to give others the same unselfi sh love that He gives us.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you,” Jesus told the disciples (verse 16). He picked us as His friends so we can “bear fruit” by sharing His love with the world.

And just in case we forget, Jesus said it one more time: “Love one another” (verse 17).