Before Christ went to the Cross for you and me, he told his disciples exactly what would mark them as his people to the world. Love has always been the principle thing. Love is nothing new for the people of God. Even in the Old Testament, the covenant community wasn’t simply about a strange diet. It was about loving God, and loving their neighbor as themselves. Jesus’ command to his disciples adds a another layer though:
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34, NLT)
The new aspect here is not that we should love others as we love ourselves (though we certainly should do that!). It’s that we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us.
He loves us when we are politically opposed to him. He loves us when we have moral failings. He loves us when we can’t seem to make a right decision. He loves us when we don’t have the energy to love ourselves. He simply loves, without condition or qualification. By the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, this is the kind of love we are invited to share with one another, across the political aisle, across denominational divides, on the street and in our sanctuaries. It is the kind of love Jesus demonstrated on the Cross, and so it is the kind of love that marks us as Jesus people.
This is why Jesus said,
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”” (John 13:35, NLT)
May it be just as our Lord has said.
From this week’s sermon.