by: Cindy Ford
S: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
O: It is Thursday of Holy Week. Jesus and his disciples are in the Upper Room observing Passover. He has just washed their feet and called them to serve each other as he has served them. Judas has departed to set in motion Jesus’ arrest, and Jesus begins what is known in John’s Gospel as the Final Discourse. The leading truth Jesus shares is about love. It is love for each other that mirrors the love Jesus has for them. The guiding principle for the way they live and work with each other is the way Jesus has loved them. In fact, Jesus says, the mark that identifies a person as a follower of Jesus is the love that is seen in the relationship that person has with other followers of Jesus.
A: It’s not a system of belief or a particular list of behaviors that identifies a person as a Christ follower. It’s the way he or she loves others who are Christ followers too. And it’s love that’s more than feeling. In fact, it’s not really a feeling at all. It’s love as action. It’s living love for each other the way Jesus has loved us – putting the needs of others ahead of the needs of self. Its setting aside our perspectives and agendas so we can get into the mind and world of another to better understand and respond. It’s employing what James teaches: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20) This kind of love reveals who we follow to the world around us, wherever we happen to be. AND – the more we live by this love in relationship to others who are following Jesus with us, the more ready we become to love those who have yet to become followers of Jesus, not matter how challenging that may be.
P: Lord Jesus, thanks for the way that you have loved me – the way you love me still through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive me when I let someone or something other than your example define what loves means and looks like in my life. Give me the love you have for all others so that when people see me they see you, and can say without a doubt, “he follows Jesus.”