Who Do You Love?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
~ John 13:34-35
Love is more than a commandment. It is a gift, and like the other gifts of the Christian dispensation it come from the Father through Jesus to those who believe in Him. Jesus' words, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you” (John 15:9), emphasizes that Jesus is the source of Christians' love for one another.
The love that Jesus has for his followers is not only affective — giving us great comfort and warmth — but also effective — it produces a result. Specifically, it brings about our salvation. It is expressed in his laying down his life, an act of love that gives life to men.
The love of one another that John's Jesus speaks about is love between Christians. In our own times, a frequent ideal is the love of all men, enunciated in terms of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Such a maxim has some biblical base in the creation of all men by God, but the idea is not the point of John. For John, God is a Father only to those who believe in His Son and who are begotten as God's children by the Spirit in Baptism. The “one another” that the Christian is to love is defined in 1 John 3:14 as “our brothers”, that is, the men and women in our community of faith.
Lord Jesus, let me love my brothers and sisters as you have commanded. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer