“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The phrase “one another” is derived from the Greek word allelon which means “one another, each other; mutually, reciprocally.” It occurs 100 times in the New Testament. Approximately 59 of those occurrences are specific commands teaching us how (and how not) to relate to one another. Obedience to those commands is imperative. It forms the foundation and basis for all authentic and healthy Christian community, and has a direct impact on our witness to the world. (John 13:35).
Let’s look at John 13:34 – this command occurs at least 16 times – LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
This commandment that Jesus gave was just before he was betrayed, unjustly judged, sentenced to death and his crucifixion. It was just before the Passover Feast. He knew he would not be with them much longer. Therefore, if there was any vital commandment He wanted to impress upon them it would be the New Commandment.
The NEW command that Jesus gave by no means nullified the GREATEST commandment – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40). It merely brought it to an even higher and deeper level. We must love one another as [in the same way] Jesus has loved us. Sacrificially, patiently, humbly and deeply.
Remember, he shared the evening meal with all of them and Judas, the betrayer, was right there beside him, receiving the piece of bread which Jesus dipped into the dish. (John 13:26-27).
Jesus declared that by this KIND of LOVE, everyone (the world) will KNOW (will recognize) that we are truly his disciples, if they SEE us loving each other. Loving one another speaks more powerfully than many sermons preached without love demonstrated.
How do we develop the kind of love Jesus had?
Jesus said the key to his love was his relationship with God the Father: “I abide in his love” (verse 10). Jesus lives in constant and perfect union with the Father. Then Jesus says at the end of verse 9, “Abide in my love.” So he abides in his Father's love, and we are to abide in his love. That’s how we are able to love each other “as he loves us.” He loves us by abiding in the love of the Father. We love each other by abiding in the love of the Son—which is the love of the Father.
(1) Do you find some people difficult to really love?
(2) Maybe you feel they don’t really deserve to be loved?
(3) Do we do more “talking” and much less “doing” love?
(4) How can we rectify this?
(5) In what ways have you experienced God loving you?
Jesus commanded us reciprocate that by loving someone you know needs your love.
Pray for the Lord to touch and soften our hearts. Pray the Spirit will write this New Commandment in hearts that are surrendered and submitted to His commandments. Pray that our families, homes, relatives and even the community around us will recognize that we are truly Christ’s followers by our love for one another. Amen.