During the last days before the cross, Jesus is with his disciples. He has shown them the extent of his love by serving them, by washing their feet. He has predicted the betrayal of Judas and Judas has now left. He then commands his disciples, ‘Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ v. 34
One commentator said this; “It is no easy task for Christians to love one another. The church’s witness in the world is always hurt and diminished by the hatred and the lack of love that often marks Christians’ dealing with one another” (NIB).
The command to love one another is vividly clear. The example of this love is Jesus who has just washed the feet of and served his disciples. He will soon go to the cross. He tells them it is by their love for one another that people will know that they are his disciples.
It is no easy task for Christians to love one another. The church’s witness, the gospel message, is ALWAYS hurt when we don’t.
Jesus commands us to love one another. It is not a suggestion. It is not an encouragement to try to love. It is a command from our Lord.
When we go to worship and sing the songs of love and commitment, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer –‘forgive us as we forgive others’ – and then walk out of the church purposefully avoiding certain people or not speaking to certain people, we sin. We disobey. When we ‘gossip’ or are intentionally hurtful toward others, we sin. We disobey. When we speak disrespectfully of the church down the street, we sin. We disobey. Are we any better than Peter, who so boldly proclaims he will follow Jesus to death, and then just hours later denies knowing him three times?
Again, it is no easy task for Christians to love one another. The church’s witness in the world is ALWAYS hurt and diminished by the hatred and lack of love that at times marks Christians’ dealings with each other. But love is a COMMAND from our Lord. Love is THE MARK by which the world will know we are disciples of Jesus.
Oh, how we need a Saviour! Oh, how we need the grace and mercy of God through the cross of Jesus Christ! Oh, how we need the courage and commitment to do what Jesus commands. Love! Forgive! Love!
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy, on us.