Thursday, 6 October 2021
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34
The occasion of our reading today takes place in the Upper Room where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover. Here Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. And during these times, He shares instructions to His disciples, and here He says, ‘to love one another.’ The love Jesus talks about here is unlike the love in marriage, friendships, and family. In fact it is agape love—the highest form of love, an unconditional love. It is often described as a “joyful act to put the interests of others above our own.”
Agape love is well described by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. It is a love that is longsuffering and generous. It is a love that is focused on the needs of others, and it is never envious of what others have or what they can do. It never seeks to put others down. This is the love we see in Christ, and it is this love that He wants us to have for one another. That is why He says to love one another in the manner He loved us!
For us to love another, we must understand the depth of the love of Christ from the very examples He set.
Sacrificial love: The primary display of God’s love is the sacrificial love of Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus took the greatest sacrifice in becoming a man like us and offering Himself on our behalf for the pardon of our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we sinful men would be made right with God. Agape love is a love that would willingly sacrifice anything/everything for the sake of others. John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Unconditional love: From the passage we can see two people Jesus deals with. The first one was Judas. Jesus knew about Judas and his plans to betray Him. In John 13:21 Jesus said to the disciples, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” Yet Jesus continued to love him and washed his feet just like everyone else and honored him by sharing the bread. Jesus continued to demonstrate His love nonetheless. He showed that Agape love is the kind that loves everyone, even our enemies to the end. The second person was Peter. Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny him. In John 13:38 Jesus says to Peter, “Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” Yet Jesus’ continued love for Peter, forgave Him and reinstated him as we see in John 21.
Jesus Christ set the perfect example of the Agape love. We, His disciples are instructed to walk in love with each other just as Jesus did and only by which the world will know that we are the true disciples of Christ (John 13:35). Our act of love will be the testimony of the love of Christ. We are called to be the salt and light in this world, and it is impossible without love! (1 John 2:9-11). Hence the instruction given by Jesus to obey, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Let us: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1)