This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Here in this passage we see a new call to action from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s a call to demonstrate what one believes and cherishes about love. It’s a call to love in a difficult time, beyond our grievances, above all accusations and in spite of all disappointments. See instead of what one’s flesh would do, this demonstrative act of sacrificial love is being taught to us by the Christ. Here’s what I’ve come to believe: this type of love trumps any other kind of love. This kind of love that Jesus is talking about is not fickle; it’s not sometimes on and sometimes off. In fact, this type of love is a sacrificial commitment that involves the whole being of a person and literally cost a person their life.
Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.
When we come to the text today we see that Jesus is charging the believer to do something. He’s charging us to obey and demonstrate our love through the brethren. The words “to love” here is a command and is written in what we call the present active tense. That means it’s something you keep on doing and it’s not something that you do just one time. In other words, you don’t stop no matter what the outcome is in the object of the thing in which you are loving. For example, my professor, Dr. Elwell, says that John uses this language over four times in the book of John and he’s writing it because it’s a word that’s powerful to him. He says ‘I’m giving you a new commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you,’ in John 13:4. Now according to Dr. Elwell, the disciples were being encouraged to love their enemies because they were living in a hostile time as followers of Christ. Dr. Elwell also suggests that Jesus’ command to love is for those who are in his body; we are to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, this would provide proof to a fallen world that we were his believers, his followers, his sons and daughters—if we love one another. So their love and our love would provide proof , evidence, that we are followers of Christ—do you have that evidence today?
The Love Challenge
You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends for all the things that I have heard from my father I have made known to you.
In this particular verse, Jesus is now calling his disciples friends. For his own death on the cross has proved his love for them and now they would prove their love for him by loving one another and loving the entire world. You See friends love each other and they help each other, and the obedience of Christ that flows through the believer ought to be on display for a sick and dying world. Guess what family? God is calling on us to love our neighbors, to love one another and to be the example of Christ on the earth. So, because we are his friends and he abides in us, we too ought to abide in him and do the things we’ve seen him do.