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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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”