A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Christ spoke openly about the fulfillment of the laws, which are based on love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” These two laws appear throughout his teaching, and in the Old Testament.
The laws are all about our relationship to God, and man. Now, in the final moments of the Last Supper, after Judas ran off to betray Christ, he gives one more command to his disciples, in private. “Love one another.” He says this two more times. This left me with two questions. Why was the command given in private? Why did Christ say it three times?
Loving God completely, and loving your neighbor as yourself, were given to more than just the Israelites. These two laws were given to everyone as an important part of a relationship with God, and the central point of all the laws of God. Christ gave this new law, or command, in private to his disciples as the one thing that would separate his disciples from everyone else.
Christ started by simply by giving them the command. “Love one another.” This is the same thing as telling someone new to do a job, but not telling them how.
In the second part he tells them how to love one another. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In this, Christ becomes their model, and in turn becomes our model for the perfect love.
Finally, Christ gives them the consequence of this command, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This command is not for everyone, it was meant only for his disciples.
This message, and command, is meant for us if we truly wish to be his disciples. It doesn’t matter what denomination we belong to, or even if we go to church. If we worship God as disciples, then we must also express our love to other disciples in the same way Christ loved us.
I think it would be a good idea to end one of the most confusing thing I’ve heard in churches today. Just because you go to church, and worship God, it doesn’t make you a disciple. A disciple is anyone who has taken on the discipline of learning, and sharing God’s word. In essence, you become a student of Christ for life. This is not an easy road, but it is very rewarding.
Challenge: Take Christ’s command to heart, and love one another as Christ loves us.