Learning How to Love

Categories: Jesus' Commandment - To Love as He Loved

We are looking at the Gospels' account of Jesus' victory over death and Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Let us look at the love Jesus lived that moved him from the cross to the crown. In the last hours Jesus spent with his disciples, before his crucifixion, he gave them a new commandment – to love as he loved. (John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. )

A fun exercise with students is to encourage them to look at Jesus' commandment and Paul's instructions in I Cor. 13.

  1. Read John 13:34 from different translations and paraphrases.
  2. Ask the pupils to list all the times Jesus expressed love.

Some third grader responses:

When he:

  • Told Jairus' daughter to get up.
  • Called a woman "daughter."
  • Stopped a funeral procession and restored the woman's dead son.
  • Washed his disciples' dirty feet.
  • Was on the cross and told John to take care of his mother, Mary.
  • Forgave everyone for putting him on the cross.
  • Called Judas, "friend."
  1. Now look at those situations. What was Jesus' response to Judas when he kissed him?
  2. What would your love quotient be if someone had just betrayed you?

Paul wrote letters to Christians in the early churches. I Corinthians is an example of one of the letters Paul wrote to the church members at Corinth. He wrote a very special message about loving in I Cor. 13.

  1. Now read I Cor. 13 from different translations. The word charity in the King James Version means love.

The New Testament in Modern English (Rev. Ed.) by J.B. Phillips
If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it shares the joy of those who live by the truth.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love never fails.

For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are "tongues" the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete.

When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man I have finished with childish things.

At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God has known me!

In this life we have three lasing qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

  1. Make a list of the qualities of love.
  2. Which ones did Jesus exhibit? Give specific examples from his life.

Some third graders said:

  • Jesus was cool in every thing he did.
  • Jesus was a loving preacher and teacher.
  • Jesus read people's minds. He still loved people when he knew they wanted to kill him.
  • Jesus was patient.
  • Jesus' love was unlimited. He loved even those who hated him.

Paul wrote letters instructing people how to love. Read II Cor. 3:3 Message Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.

Questions to ask students:

  1. Do you realize your life is a letter?
  2. What kind of a letter are you?
  3. What does your letter say about your ability to love?
  4. Write a letter to someone in your Sunday school or church or family. Talk about Jesus' commandment to love as he loved.

One of my third graders wrote this letter:

Dear Katie,

You are so loving. I just learned about Jesus' commandment to love as he loved. This is really important to do. I want you to know, I think you do that. I like the way you forgive others. When Jane pushes you, you don't get mad or push back. I want to do that. Thank you for living Jesus' commandment.

Your Friend,
3rd grader

Help your pupils live love and use Jesus' life as an example of that love.