“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
– John 13:34 (Jesus speaking)
Jesus spoke this commandment to His disciples late in His life. In fact, it was the night before He was crucified. We can understand why Jesus would have wanted to live His life in the sight of His apostles before telling them to love each other as He had loved them. How could they know how much He had loved them unless they’d see the fullness of His life?
On the night before Jesus died, the disciples were on the verge of understanding how much He loved us…but only on the verge. They did not fully accept that He would die. How could such a thing happen so early in the career of Israel’s Messiah? Even though He had told them on at least three different occasions that He would be executed by the authorities in Jerusalem, they just couldn’t comprehend such an event.
After all, Jesus had walked on water. He’d proven by the miracle of the loaves and fishes that He could survive with supporters indefinitely in the wilderness. He had eluded capture when in tight circumstances before. How could a man so favored by God be executed so shamefully – especially given the crowds that had been shouting “Hosanna to the King!” so enthusiastically when He entered Jerusalem just a few days before?
Yet die Jesus would. Horribly and painfully. And why would He do it? For them. For us.
Jesus showed us the way to live in this troubled world. It is by love. It is by sacrificing ourselves to our Creator in benefit to our fellow man. Husbands sacrificing for their wives. Wives sacrificing for their husbands. Parents sacrificing for their children. Children sacrificing for their parents.
Jesus’ disciples had always known that we were to love one another. What Jesus waited until the last minute to tell them was that we are to love one another as He loves us. We had to see it to believe it. No one could have convinced us that God would put Himself through a crucifixion for us. But there it is – impossible to deny.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, if You were willing to be crucified for me I should at least be willing to be inconvenienced or annoyed by my neighbor…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)