John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
THEME OF THE DAY. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. In today’s scripture, it is easy to be focused on the repeated phrase from our Lord, “love one another.” It appears three times in a very short space and explodes with emphasis. And focused on it we should be. This is the high mark of being His disciple. This is our “ID card” verifying we are His. Yet, there is something our Lord says in the middle of today’s scripture which is so critical and actually directs us to how to put the command to “love one another” into our lives. It is the phrase “just as I have loved you.” There is an important lesson in these six words for us who are task-driven people.
I confess, I am one of those people. Maybe you are also. We make our lists and methodically work our way through them to completion. We live by schedules of “to do’s” and things we need to accomplish. Our lives often are nice neat packages of projects, responsibilities, schedules, and tasks. And that works in a lot of things but not when it comes to obeying the command of our Lord to “love one another.” He doesn’t give us a nice little handbook to follow. Nor does He gives us a pamphlet of three easy instructions to implement. No, like all things in the Christian life, He brings us to Himself. He is the “handbook”. He is the sheet of instructions. The simple words “just as I have loved you” force us to do two things, if we are to obey it.
First, the model to love other people, especially Christians, cannot be determined by what we think it is, but by looking to Jesus. We must measure our obedience to His command to love by seeing how He loved. He told the disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you.” He didn’t say, “Love one another as you think you should or by what is convenient for you.” He drives them to remember how He loved them. The disciples would have to go back over the past three years of their lives and ponder all the acts of Jesus revealing His love for them. And that is the only way to love. They and we would not be allowed to love as we determine but by how Jesus modeled.
The second thing our Lord’s words on loving one another as He did demands is that we do what the disciples had to do – remember how Jesus loved. What does that mean for us? It means a heavy dose of reading, studying, and meditating in the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We will need to go to the “manual” and enter into the life of Jesus as He walked upon the earth and observe how He loved. And let’s take a little quiz to see if we know something about how He loved. Can we, from memory, name at least four encounters with Jesus showing how He loved His people and His disciples? Saturate ourselves in the Gospel if we want to see how He loved. In order to obey the command He gave to “love one another”, giving ourselves over to time in the Gospels becomes a necessity. How gracious God is to us to give us this command that drives us to His Word! May God help us to seek to model the Lord Jesus in loving people because we ourselves are experiencing His love and observing His love through studying the Gospels.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to model Your Son’s love to people in every encounter with people I have today.”
QUOTE: “Jesus gave us both a command to love and a model to love. It is up to us to put both into our lives”