“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
It sounds like such a simple command, “Love one another.” And if that was all that Jesus said there, it might have been an easier command to live into, but He didn’t stop there. He said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” He set the bar extremely high. He has shown His love for us in so many ways, culminating in the cross—giving his very life for our salvation; all because He loves us.
His love didn’t run out of patience when His disciples didn’t get what He was teaching them. He knew the Holy Spirit would help them grasp it better later. He didn’t bow out when the going got tough, but He entered into settings where He knew things would be difficult. Whether it was going to His home town where folks couldn’t wrap their minds around Him being anything more than Mary and Joseph’s son, and His claims enraged them to the point of nearly hurling Him off of a cliff, or when it came to heading to Jerusalem that last time, knowing what was ahead, He stayed the course because of His great love for all those who would come to faith in Him.
So, loving one another as Christ has loved us is an extremely high standard. We have to keep in mind the compassion He felt for those who were keenly aware of their own short comings. Whether it was the woman caught in adultery, the man born blind, or the woman who had the bleeding issue that touched the hem of His garment, His compassion was on display.
We have to keep in mind His humility, that even though He was the Son of God, He was willing to take the basin and the towel, get down on His knees and wash His disciple’s feet, showing them the model of the kind of leaders He was calling them to be. His love for them, and for us for that matter, kept Him teaching those who would listen about His heavenly Father, so that they might understand and come to love Him more.
He finished His statement above with, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” If we are using His example of what it means to love one another, how are we doing? How is the church doing? Would the world even know that we are His disciples if all they had to go by was the measure of our love for each other? Does the world know something about the love of Christ because they have seen it being worked out in our lives, and even directed toward those in the world?
There is no doubt in my mind that I have a lot of room to grow in this area. How about you? I pray that we can help each other develop more of the love of Christ in us.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen