God sent his only son into the world. God sent his only son into the world that we might live through him. God sent his only son into the world that we might live through him by the sacrifice of himself for our sins. God sent his only son into the world that we might live through him by the sacrifice of himself for our sins, and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2). This is the essence of love, to sacrifice that which is the most precious to us for another.
Jesus bore gruesome torture, carried a rugged cross in a contemptible trudge up to Golgotha, allowed himself to be nailed to it and hung from it, and lifted his body up from it enough times to breathe life into a sinner hanging next to him (Luke 23:43), and to ask forgiveness for the bloodthirsty mob who knew not what they were doing (Luke 23:34). This act was the essence of love.
Now we are asked to simply love our neighbor, starting with our brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:10), and reaching out to “those who know not what they are doing.” By his spirit we can, in fact, now be the Father and Son’s exact radiance on earth (Hebrews 1:3). They will know us by our love, and the epitome of that love is a little self-sacrifice on our part for the needs of others. In this act the world will see the essence of love.
9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11