And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. (John 13;34, TLB)
Everything Jesus does during his final days on earth pointed to this command. But I don’t think they got it. They couldn’t. The only thing the crew following Jesus had in common was Jesus. Other than that…nothing. It was surprising they could sit down on a mountainside together without skirmishes breaking out all over.
But Jesus knew this was central to his mission. He not only shows them, he tells them again (see John 15:17) and again. Then to solidify it he tells them to get together in the upper room and stay put until the Holy Spirit comes.
When the pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded by reciting the familiar, “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Then he added his command, this command to love one another.
What would it look like in your corner of the world if in spite any differences or dislikes your first response was love? Can you imagine God asking you to sit in a room for fifty days with people you didn’t like or trust?
Did you just shudder at the thought?
Here’s the kicker…it’s not just a suggestion. It’s Jesus’ commandment. And he’s not asking us to do anything he didn’t already do for us.
PRAYER: God of love, who commands us to love, and gave us the ultimate example of love…forgive us for being unloving and unlovable. Give eyes to see others as you see and hearts to love as you love. Amen.