Love Like Jesus: 12 Bible Verses to Take to Heart

Love Like Jesus: 12 Bible Verses to Take to Heart

Easter is just around the corner! As we prepare to celebrate the ultimate act of love, here are 12 Bible verses about Christ’s love to take to heart so you can love like Jesus.

12 Bible verses about Jesus’ love

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

John 13:34 (ESV)

The Bible tells us to love like Jesus. So, how do we do that? After all, Jesus was perfect. We are not. Although we can’t expect to meet Christ’s perfect standard, we are still called to try. Fortunately, Jesus gave us many practical examples of how to love that we can emulate. So, here are 12 Bible verses about Jesus’ love and how they can help us love like He did…

Bible verses about loving through kindness

Jesus and Zacchaeus

“And [Zacchaeus] was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.'”

Luke 19:3-5 (ESV)

One of the ways that Jesus loved was by being kind. You may be familiar with the story of Zacchaeus, the “wee-little” tax collector. He climbed up a tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He passed by. Many people would have ignored Zacchaeus, but Jesus did not. Not only did Jesus notice him, but He wanted to spend the day with him! As a result, this upset several people who had a low opinion of the diminutive tax collector. However, Jesus knew better. He knew how loving through kindness would transform Zacchaeus’ heart. Likewise, we have the same opportunity to share God’s love with others through kindness.

Jesus and Lazarus' family

“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother [Lazarus] would not have died.' When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept. So the Jews said, 'See how he loved him!'”

John 11:32-36 (ESV)

Additionally, another way to show kindness is through compassion and empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings with others. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, He shared in the grief of the man’s sisters and friends. He did this even though He knew He could and would raise Lazarus from the dead! This verse shows us the depth of Jesus’ love. He wasn’t faking sadness, He really felt it. Because of that, offered the kindness of sharing those feelings with Lazarus’ family and friends. So, we can offer that same compassion to those around us who are hurting.

Bible verses about loving through service

Serving Jesus by serving others

“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

Matthew 25:37-40 (ESV)

We talked about the importance of service in the March Live It Challenge. Serving others is a great way to love like Jesus and can often open doors to share our faith that otherwise would be closed. Jesus did not shy away from serving others and commanded His followers to do the same. In this verse, He tells us that when we serve others, we are serving Him. So, we have even more reason to love like Jesus and help those around us!

Following Jesus' example of service

“When [Jesus] had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.’”

John 13:12-14 (ESV)

Jesus didn’t just talk the talk; he walked the walk. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, putting himself in the place of a servant. He did this to set the example that they (and we) should follow. Jesus was not afraid to humble himself and show others his love by serving them. He reiterated this point powerfully in Mark 10:45 when He said that He “came not to be served but to serve.” Similarly, we have the opportunity to adopt Jesus’ loving mindset – to not be served but to serve.

Bible verses about loving through forgiveness

Forgiving as we have been forgiven

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.”

Matthew 18:23-27 (ESV)

Another way to love like Jesus is by showing forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Jesus paints a perfect example of God’s forgiveness in the parable above. A man owing a significant debt to a king is shown mercy and his debt is forgiven. After that, the forgiven servant doesn’t pass along that same mercy to another and is punished, but we’re given the chance to respond differently. We’ve experienced God’s loving forgiveness. As a result, we can share that same mercy to those who hurt us.

Jesus' example of forgiveness

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”

Luke 23:34a (ESV)

If anyone had a right to not forgive, it was Jesus. He was falsely accused, beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross to die an excruciating death. And it wasn’t just the soldiers or the Jewish leaders that put him there. It was all of us – our sinful selves that needed atonement. Jesus didn’t have to forgive us, but he loved us so much that He prayed to Father in heaven that we would be forgiven.

Bible verses about loving through the truth

Sharing the truth in love

“‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.' The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.’”

John 4:24-26 (ESV)

You may have heard the phrase “sharing the truth in love.” If you love someone, you don’t hide the truth from them – you share it! Jesus wasn’t shy about telling others the truth, but He always did it in a way that showed He cared for them. In the verse above, Jesus shared several truths to the woman at the well, none more important than revealing He was the Messiah that she was waiting for. As a result, the woman was so excited that she began sharing the truth of Jesus, and many people believed in Him because of her testimony.

Jesus is the way

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

John 14:6 (ESV)

Once again, Jesus did not hold back the truth from His disciples or us thousands of years later. That Jesus is the one and only way to God is an absolute truth that endures forever. He showed His love for mankind by proclaiming this truth and verifying it with His ministry. After His death and resurrection, Jesus commissioned His followers to go and make disciples of all nations, sharing with them His loving truth (see Matthew 28:16-20).

Bible verses about loving through sacrifice

Love your enemies

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

Luke 6:35 (ESV)

To love like Jesus is to sacrifice. There is a cost involved, and it can feel like a particularly steep cost to love your enemies. Despite that, Jesus lived out the words above in Luke 22:49-51. A mob came to arrest Him. As a result, one of the disciples lashed out with his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Even though the servant was part of the mob that had come to capture Jesus, He showed the man His love by healing his ear. Then, in another act of sacrificial love, Jesus gave Himself over to be arrested.

Jesus' sacrificial love

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13 (ESV)

Because Jesus loved us, He was willing to sacrifice His life for us. He suffered and died on a cross because He knew that was the only way we could join Him in heaven. We may not be asked to literally give up our lives for someone else, but we can still love like Jesus by sacrificing our desires to help those around us. Additionally, Isaiah 53:5 is another great Bible verse about Jesus’ love.

Speaking of Christ’s sacrificial love, that brings us to…

The ultimate example of love

Jesus provides the greatest example of love the world has ever known. As Easter approaches, read through a Gospel account of Christ’s loving passion and victorious resurrection. What examples of love do you see from Jesus by reading through just those chapters? Take note of those examples and be thinking about how you can follow His example as you strive to love like Jesus.

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…”

Ephesians 5:2a (ESV)

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