A new command I give you:
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
When Jesus said these words, it was Thursday, the day before he was crucified. Judas had gone into the darkness to betray his Master, and Jesus now turned to his other disciples, calling them his children. A more literal Greek translation would read, My dear little children, I will be with you only a little longer (John 13:33).
Then Jesus went on to tell his followers how they would need to relate to each other after he was gone. Love one another, he commanded his disciples. By offering a command here, Jesus did not focus on the feeling of love, but on the decision to love. Jesus knew that we would not always feel like loving each other, so he commanded it. Love is first a decision, not an emotion.
But a command to love is not easy to obey. Thats why its good news to hear that this is a new command. Whats new is that Jesus has given us a model for this love through his own ministry. We are to love, Jesus says, as I have loved you. In his love for us, Jesus was willing to die for us. In community with him, we discover the power to love sacrificially too.
Jesus says that when we love as he has loved, we will become a powerful attraction for people who do not know Jesus. By this everyone will know that we are his disciples, if [we] love one another. They will know we are truly children of God.
Lord Jesus, may my love for others attract them to you. And may my church be a loving community to those who seek you. May we all be faithful models of your love. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!