Daily D – John 13:34-35
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
JOHN 13:34-35 (CSB)
I used to watch a lot of game shows during summer vacations before I began working full time. Daily winners left with prizes or cash. Other contestants were given “some lovely parting gifts.”
Jesus is about to go to the cross and the grave. Then he will rise and later ascend. He tells his eleven disciples, “Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so now I tell you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’” (verse 33).
Before he goes, he gives some lovely parting gifts. He gives them love (13:1, 33, 34). He gives them joy (John 15:11). He gives them peace (14:27).
What kind of love is this? It appears Peter kind of skips over the touchy-feely stuff to get down to the bottom line when he asks, “Lord, where are you going?” (verse 36). We skip these touchy-feely verses to our peril. This is not the kind of love that is one step beyond like-like. This is resolution. This is determination. This is superglue.
This is stepping beyond knowing and into doing. This is more than memorizing and repeating Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. This is Matthew 22:37-40 on display as Jesus loves his disciples to the end (13:1) and all who will follow in their steps to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
This is more than singing, “I love you with the love of the Lord.” (I Love You with the Love of the Lord by Jim Gilbert, 1977) This is fellowship. This is family. This is how all things are decided, determined, and done. This is “We are one in the bond of love,” stuff. (We Are One in the Bond of Love, Otis Skillings, Lillenas Publishing Company, 1971)
This is loving like Jesus. This is selfless service. This is love unwearied, love unworn, love unending. This is commitment, devotion, dedication. This is seeking the highest good for everyone everywhere.
As we first lead ourselves and then others, we do so with the love of the Lord. Forever in our hearts and on our minds is the motive, “What is the most loving action to take? What is the most loving thing to say?” It goes beyond WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) to What Would Jesus Do If We Were Me at this moment, in this situation?
Let’s join Peter in backing up and pondering what Jesus just said. The kind of love Jesus is talking about is sacrificial. It leads others to the conclusion that we have been with Jesus.
Let me ask this question as lovingly as I know how, while also knowing that I will ponder this as I gaze into a mirror myself, How many people see what I do and hear what I say and read what I write and say, “He has been with Jesus.”
This is a good day to go beyond singing songs about love to really loving everyone we relate to along the way.
I will learn to love like Jesus.
Our Father, as you so love us, empower us to love others. Empower us to seek the highest good of all people everywhere. Empower us to serve in love everyone we encounter according to the need of the moment. Fill us full to overflowing with your loving presence. Guide us with your loving direction. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.