#89: Love One Another

John 13:31–35

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“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.”

Despite the face of Che Guevara being everywhere in our trendy, modern, cool world Jesus is the one who should be seen as the greatest revolutionary of all time. If the effectiveness of a revolution is based on three indicators:

  • How long has it lasted?
  • How many people has it impacted?
  • What qualities of human happiness and well-being has it brought?

Then who can compare with the man from Nazareth.

The essence of the Jesus revolution was, and still is, love. Jesus did not get his disciples to lead an uprising against the Romans or over-turn the Jerusalem power base, he simply called on them to ‘love one another as I have loved you’.

Perhaps more than anyone else in our modern age John Lennon captures the spirit of this Jesus revolution:

There’s love, love, love,
Nothing you can do that can’t be done,
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
All you need is love,
Love is all you need.
All you need is Love.

Jesus had already done quite a bit of teaching on love, both for his disciples and the crowds generally. Spiritually wrestling with the Pharisees in the temple, he compresses the whole of the Old Testament teaching and morality into two single commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it! You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

Jesus had regularly pointed out that most people are good at loving their friends but when asked about loving our neighbours he told them the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a story all about loving people who we normally avoid and look down on. It is a story of crossing racial divides and rejecting prejudice. It is a story about love in action not in words. The whole life of Jesus can be seen as an acting out of the Good Samaritan story, so when he calls the disciples to ‘love one another’ he really is saying ‘love as you have seen me love’. That is revolutionary; that is why the revolution has lasted, spread wide and touched so many lives.

Today the revolution lives on in us and in our loving of others.

Easy to put into words,
Hard to put into practice.
Easy to begin,
Hard to continue.
Easy with those who love us,
Hard with the unlikeable.

Lord Jesus,
As you lead, help me to follow.
As you show, help me to copy.
As you command, help me to obey.
To love the other,
The other member of my family.
Work colleague, neighbour,
Brother or sister.
Help me to love as you have loved.