Loving One Another – (John 13)

John 13

When you think of Jesus what is the first thing that pops into your head? For me it is His love. His love that He so freely and joyfully gives to me. A love that is so strong, He laid down His life to call me His own. And I in return love Him. But that isn’t enough. For Jesus wants more than my love, He wants me to love others with the same passion that I reserve for Him.

John Chapter 13 begins with a humbling and beautiful example of the importance of love to Jesus. As one of His last acts before His sacrifice on the Cross, the Lord knelt and began to cleanse the feet of the disciples. Now some might think that what Jesus did wasn’t a big deal. He loved these men and called them friends. Wouldn’t you do the same for those you love? But these were also the same men that Jesus knew would hurt, betray, and disappoint Him. Knowing this, He still performed the task usually reserved for the lowliest slave in the house as an act of His love, and as an example of loving and serving others.

Throughout His life on earth, everything Jesus did He did in love. And He made it perfectly clear that we are to do the same. Especially when it comes to others. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus responds to the question of which is the greatest commandment. “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole law and the Prophets.” Love is the foundation of the Law. Loving God means loving all that God created. Especially those created in His image. This is the message echoed throughout the Bible and especially in the teachings of Jesus. And no more is our love for the Lord evident than when we are loving others.

In vs. 34-35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you will also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” When we demonstrate Christian love, it distinguishes us from the rest of the world. It is not through our doctrines, our big beautiful churches, our posts on Facebook, or our Cross necklaces that we are known as His disciples. It is through our actions, and our love for others. We are the ambassadors of the Lord and should reflect His character of love as told in 1 John 4:16. “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him.”

What Jesus is calling us to do isn’t easy. And undoubtedly as soon as you make a commitment to love others, along a person will come as a test to your resolve. But God never calls us to go it alone, nor to do what He asks in our own strength. Our strength comes from the power of the Holy Spirt. And through this power we can follow the example of Jesus and serve others joyfully, and without the expectation of anything in return. Even those who hurt, betray, and disappoint us.

The goal of the Christian walk is to become transformed into the image of Christ. To mirror His unconditional love and to, “….love one another, just as I have loved you.“, (John 15:12) Loving Jesus means humbling serving and loving others. 1 John 4:9-11 powerfully reminds us, “…God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love another.”

I love this explanation of what Christian love should look like by Rick Ezell. “Love entails a cost. It’s gets its hands dirty. It takes a chance. It goes out on a limb. It takes a gamble. Love makes a statement and leaves a legacy. It does the unexpected, surprising, and stirring. It performs acts that steal the heart and leaves an impression on the soul.” That’s the kind of Christlike love for others I want to have! A joyful, humble, foot washing kind of love. And not because I love Him, but because He loved me first!

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