Jesus displayed the fruit of the Spirit that God desires to cultivate in each of His children. Love, first on the list, is probably the characteristic that Jesus most noticeably exhibited and ought to be the easiest to expound. At its deepest root, everything Jesus did was based on love; the focus of this survey is on fairly overt displays.
Jesus' love fulfilled all that would be expected of love. In fact, Jesus did so even when other humans may have understandably lapsed. When Jesus was in agony, dying on the cross, He looked down and saw His mother. Even in His dire situation, He wanted to care for His mother, and He assigned her care to a disciple that He loved and trusted (John 19:26-27).
Jesus revealed love by His acceptance of His followers. When someone came to Him announcing the arrival of His mother and brothers, Jesus indicated His disciples and said, "Behold My mother and My brothers!" (Matthew 12:49). This was not to disparage His biological family, but to show His profoundly deep relationship with all who follow Him. He extends to them the loving status of family.
Jesus displayed His love through genuine friendship, which included sharing in the sorrow of His friends. Siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were special to Jesus; His love was evident to them, to the author of the story, and to the onlookers (John 11:3,5,36). When Lazarus died, Jesus came to minister to the sisters. As He saw their sorrow, "He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled" (John 11:33). His love was so great that He wept with them (11:35-36) and that He raised Lazarus from the dead (11:38-43). Both responses are linked to His love and emotional response to the family.
Because of His love, Jesus desired safety for His friends. When armed men came to the garden to capture Jesus, all of the disciples faced some danger. While Jesus accepted His own fate, He desired that none of His followers be lost in the fracas. As He surrendered Himself, Jesus indicated His disciples and urged the soldiers, "If you seek Me, let these go their way" (John 18:8).
Jesus demonstrated His love by deliberate interaction to restore someone who had failed. Peter, the most outspoken of the disciples, had adamantly declared that he would never desert Jesus. Hours later he did precisely that, cursing and denying that he even knew Jesus. Peter was broken over his failure, and Jesus had a personal conversation with Peter for the purposes of confirming the foundation of love between them and of assuring Peter that Jesus still wanted to use him greatly (John 21:15-17).
Jesus' love was faithful. Jesus did not love only when it was convenient. When things became difficult for Him personally, He did not diminish His love so that He could focus on His own life. Jesus knew that His death was impending, and "having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (John 13:1).
Jesus expressed His love by praying for His disciples. His petitions for those He loved included the following: "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me" (John 17:9). "Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are" (John 17:11). "Keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). "Sanctify them in the truth" (John 17:17). "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" (John 17:19). "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me" (John 17:23). "I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). It is clear from the words of Jesus' prayer that He deeply loved His followers and desired meaningful blessings for them.
Jesus declared His love with His words. As Jesus neared death, His words to His disciples overflowed with assurances of love (John 14-16). The underlying tone of these chapters is concern, love, comfort, and assurance. He gave comfort by assuring them of an eternal home with Him (14:1-3). He offered reassurances about abundant answers to their prayers (14:13-14). He promised them another Helper to take His place (14:16-17). He assured them of continued love by Himself and His Father (14:18-21). He lovingly prepared them for future events (14:28-31). He told them of the power they could have by abiding in Him (15:3-11). He assured them of His relationship with them as being that of a friend (15:15). He comforted them in their sorrow by promising continued care (16:6-15). These various words can be represented by His statement, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love" (John 15:9).
Finally, Jesus showed His love through sacrifice. True love makes sacrifices for the one who is loved, and the greater the love, the greater the extent of the sacrifice. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). This is exactly what He was about to do for His friends. Jesus' willing death on the cross is argued throughout Scripture as the undeniable proof of His love. That act alone was enough to confirm His love, but to that ultimate act, Jesus added innumerable smaller demonstrations.
"We love, because He first loved us." (I John 4:19)