JUST BEFORE JESUS went to Calvary He said to His disciples,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Is it right for God to command us to love one another?
Imagine a young man on a college campus who sees and falls in love with a young lady. But she’s not the least bit interested in him. So, he goes up to her one day and says, “I command you to love me!” Can a man do that to a young lady? Of course not.
It’s important that we understand that Christian love is not an emotional feeling that we manufacture. But it means we treat each other the way God treats us. Christian love is not a matter of feeling, it’s a matter of willing. “For God so loved…that he gave” (John 3:16). God’s love wasn’t a sentimental feeling, but it expressed itself in action.
How does God treat us? God forgives us, so we forgive one another. God is kind to us, so we are kind to one another. God receives us, so we receive one another. We may not have the same personalities, or we might not even have the same interests; but we willingly and deliberately treat each other the way God treats us. This helps us to understand what it means to love one another.
I’m going to have a difficult time washing your feet if I don’t love you. I’m going to have a difficult time forgiving you if I don’t love you. The interesting thing is this: the more we deliberately will to love one another, the more our feelings begin to change; and lo and behold, we even start to like one another. You may not want to spend a week’s vacation with some people, but you can still treat them the way God treats you. As we love one another more and more, we learn to like one another. We can get along with one another.
God commands us to love one another because He revealed to us His love. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:8, 10). Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it means to “love one another” by His life and by His death. His command to love one another shouldn’t be looked upon as a burdensome commandment (1 John 5:2, 3), but a joy. (Howell Ferguson)
“GOD LOVES YOU AND I LOVE YOU AND THAT’S THE WAY IT’S GONNA BE!” – MIKE