Reading: John 13: 31-35
If it is really lived out, Jesus command to love one another as He first loved us is hard. I imagine as this new command first landed on the disciples’ ears, they recalled good things Jesus did – healings, teachings, even things not recorded in the Bible. But as they continued to think about this new command, maybe their thoughts drifted back to when Jesus healed ‘that guy’ or when He offered loving words to a lowly Samaritan. Who knows what their prejudices, hang ups, or inner struggles were – we all have them.
We too can spend time with Jesus by reading and meditating on the Word. Through time with the Word we come to see and understand what Jesus meant by this new command. We may not understand the ancient cultural reasons why a Jew and Samaritan did not talk to one another but we can see that Jesus offered Himself to all He encountered. He did not judge or look down on or condemn anyone. Even in His confrontations and exchanges with the religious authorities there is a feeling that Jesus is truly sad that they don’t get it. Each time they return to come at Him again, He tries to continue to teach them, to help them see that He really is the Messiah.
The kind of people who came to mind for the disciples and the religious authorities that always came at Jesus are like the people who make it hard for us to love all as Jesus loved. Yet hard is not impossible. We have an excellent example to follow in He who gave the command. We will at times fail. But the key is to realize our failure, to repent, and to resume the journey. When we seek to love all as Jesus first loved us, our love will grow and we come to love one we just couldn’t love just the other day. May our love grow and grow as we come to be more and more and more like Jesus.