“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Do you remember when you were a child and your parents would say, “ Be nice to your brother”? And grudgingly you probably wondered why you should do it when he was not being nice to you. We all felt cheated and it was not fair for us to stay nice while our siblings were mean to us. As a believer, there are many things Christ commands us to do and they feel hard to do and unfair.
It is a command and not a request for us to love one another (Matthew 22:39). In fact, according to Jesus, this commandment is partly a summary of the other commandments. When an army general gives an order soldiers obey and then ask questions later. God is our commander when He gives an order it must be followed.
Love each other
Love should not be a command but it is. It should come easy but unfortunately, we do not know how to walk in love outside God. Our own form of love is not pure, it’s driven by selfish gain. We love when we gain and when we do not, we quickly lose interest. But God’s love is unconditional, it’s not emotional, it is a choice. This is properly demonstrated by Jesus that while we were still deep in sin, He died on the cross for us (Romans 5:8).
We must then walk fervently and sincerely in love just as Jesus did for us. Loving one another is being courteous, devoted to each other above ourselves, and compassionate. It is a sacrificial love since it is influenced by how Jesus has loved us. We must always be ready to lay our lives, our pleasures or choices for the sake of brethren just like how Jesus without hesitation laid down his life for us.
A Visible Love
The effect of such sacrificial, selfless love is that it will be visible. And it is visible not only to the brethren but also to every single person. It is unfortunate that some have left the church as a result of selfishness! God is love but not many have seen him. Since no one has seen God, when we love one another just like how He commanded us to, He abides in us (1 John 4:12). And then people can see God through these selfless actions.
The God kind of love extends beyond the walls of our sanctuaries to where the multitudes are. We must give the world the opportunity to see the pattern of God’s love through our relationships with one another. Being a warm and friendly church is not enough to fulfil the command to have sacrificial unconditional love for one another. The act of obeying God’s word completes the love of God in the hearts of the observers (1 John 2:5). Let us be the disciples in action demonstrating God’s pattern of love in our relationships. How will you love your brothers in the Lord today?
King James Version (KJV)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
New International Version (NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”