“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.”
1. Jesus’ love for us is our reason for loving others. That means our love for others should be similar to Jesus’ love for us – servant hearted and self-sacrificial. Costly and yet still freely given. Is it?
2. Jesus is talking to his disciples – Christians, we need to actively love one another. That means we needs to get to know each other personally, we need to trust one another and take initiative to learn each others needs so we can serve each other. Don’t look at others and blame them for not knowing about you because they’re not putting in effort. Instead put in effort yourself. You can only change your own actions.
3. We do this as part of sharing our faith. Yes, we need to preach the gospel with words (yes, that’s hard and scary, but we need to do it). But we also need to show our faith in how we live – especially in relation to the community of believers. If Jesus is real and has really saved us, then it makes sense that we should be different to the world.
4. Paul doesn’t make a distinction between believers. I don’t have the right to love Bill more than Joe, or to care for Sam instead of Tim. I don’t have the right to look at one person and see that they’re harder to love or get on with and just avoid them. No – Jesus tells us to love one another fully, regardless of who they are. That’s tough when you take it seriously. But really good. Thats what should be different about us as Christians – we shouldn’t just love people who are loveable. We should actively love and serve those who are harder to love. We don’t do it in an attempt to impress people, but to serve God.
- Maybe a helpful point to put this in perspective: if God had only loved those of us who were loveable or worth saving because of something good in us then every single one of us would still be bound of his punishment in hell forever because of our sin.
5. Jesus doesn’t talk here about loving Non-christians, but the way we do that is by serving them. What do they need most? The gospel. We need to love them, and a massive part of that is telling them the gospel – that Jesus alone can save from God’s wrath, since he alone was perfect. We sin and deserve God’s punishment for eternity, but if we put our trust in Jesus and repent then we will be entirely forgiven. What a promise! Tell people!
- Is my love for others clearly visible? If yes, then is that because I’m trying to win man’s praise or serve God?