Love One Another. A command or a suggestion?

Loving one another is not a suggestion, it is a command

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot. And usually, I get into trouble when I think. But in this case, I’ve been reading the Bible every year following the Daily Audio Bible. About a month ago, we were in the book of John, and we came across a very familiar passage.

It’s one of the most critical passages in the New Testament – Jesus’ last words He spoke to His twelve disciples. Those words were for us as well. I am going to be focusing on John 15:9-12. This was Jesus’ last charge. He knew what was going to happen within a few hours.

Jesus says in John 15:9-12 – “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Jesus was not saying this was just a good idea. He did not say that this was the ideal that He hoped we would one day attain. It wasn’t just a suggestion. No! Jesus made it clear. This was a command. However, Jesus didn’t just give us marching orders. He demonstrated exactly how to do this within a few hours after those words came out of His mouth.

Jesus spoke those words to His disciples at an intimate meal. Many of these men were friends with whom He had been running alongside for three years. He knew them inside and out. Even before Peter denied Christ, the fisherman was known for putting his foot in his mouth. Jesus still loved him, knowing exactly what Peter was about to do.

Then there was Judas, known to have dipped into the community fund. Jesus knew what manner of man Judas was, and yet He shared the Passover bread of fellowship with His betrayer that evening. Our Messiah looked Judas in the eye and still loved him.

Jesus had a good idea of what was coming down the road, but that didn’t stop Him from walking that road for the joy set before Him. We are that joy.

Then there were James and John. These brothers would have irritated me with their swagger and audacity. I can imagine that Jesus was annoyed with all of His disciples at some point. Now, there’s nothing sinful with being irritated. It’s our heart posture that leads us into sin. And Jesus sinned not and loved them.

Jesus knew the prophecies that foretold His last days on Earth. Twelve men pledged their allegiance to Him and were the first to abandon Him. Jesus loved them still.

When Jesus said, “This is my command that you love one another as I have loved you”, He wasn’t expecting us to do it solely by our own strength. But He still calls us to love that person who irritates us. God commands us to love and bless that brother in Christ whose political rhetoric tries our patience. We are to love and honour that sister in Christ, who always says the wrong thing at the most awkward times.

He commands you to love that person who cuts you off In traffic so they can find a better parking spot than you in the church parking lot.

It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but we are expected to make the right choice. Love that person with the same love that Christ showed you. Let it be a sincere love. Allow your facial countenance and your heart to be in synch.

Trust Jesus. He will give you strength, grace, and humility if you ask Him for His help. There is nothing that Jesus would ever ask of us that He had not already proven could be done. Jesus was fully God and fully man. There is no temptation we face that He does not understand on a heart level.

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NASB 1995 is the Bible version I use unless stated otherwise.

Until next week,

©2022 Katherine Walden