A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35, NKJV
What does it mean that we are to love one another? The world has so many definitions of love these days, so in order to understand what Jesus is saying here, we must understand the context. The evening in which Jesus was speaking was the same night that He was to be betrayed and eventually murdered unjustly. He had washed His disciples feet, a duty left to servants. He had released His treasurer to go and betray Him to those who had issued Christ’s death warrant. With the cross in view, Jesus issues not a new command, but an old command with new revelation—“as I have loved you.”
What an incredible picture of the love we are to have for one another—the love we have received freely from Jesus is the love with which we are to love each other. Jesus further clarifies this statement and says, everyone will identify you as my follower because you have My love for one another.
This clearly shows us that Christ’s love is different from the love the world expresses. The love of Jesus is defined differently. Have you experienced this kind of love, or are you still experiencing love tied to manipulation or control or broken promises or unmet expectations?
The love of Christ towards us is the ultimate love that is permanently and perfectly expressed between God the Father and God the Son. This overwhelming love they have shared for all eternity, displayed in the person of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) is lavishly poured out on us. Paul tells us in Romans 8, that this love is so great and so perfect that nothing can break its power or overcome it. He tells us this love is so pure and so precious that it is extended without demand or expectation. This love is so radical and ravishing that it changes everything in its path.
This is the love of Christ towards us, and is the love we are to share with one another. When I say, “I Love My Church,” I’m not referencing a love similar to that of a restaurant or event—but a love that is produced by a relationship with God that affects my relationship with others.
Let me conclude today’s post by sharing with you Johnson’s Commentary on John:
That love was one so intense as to give up all things. His love led him to leave heaven, to take our infirmities upon him, to endure a weary and painful ministry, to become a servant, even to wash the feet of his disciples, and it was about to show itself forth in the outpouring of his blood for the sake of his people. It was such love as he would inspire in the hearts of his disciples for each other; a self-denying, self-sacrificing love which is not of the earth, but carries its own demonstration that it is of heavenly origin. The “new life” is love.