“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).
Before this moment, the greatest commandments were to love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. Before this moment, the disciples could measure their love by love for self. Am I loving this child, this spouse, this neighbor more than I am loving myself?
But here, after modeling true love, Jesus shares the most profound view of the thing we all crave.
“… love one another just as I have loved you…”
Now, to love is to look beyond self and look at Jesus.
Now, love is a sacrifice.
Now, love is an action that compels service.
Now, love is visible. Love is tangible.
In this moment, the disciples of Jesus were set apart from the disciples of other rabbis. They would be known for their love. Not their knowledge. Not their understanding. Not their positions on issues.
No. They would be known by their love for one another. A love that lays its life down for the other. A love defined by sacrifice and service. A love modeled by the One who created love itself.
And this is the great love legacy we step into as disciples of the very same One.
I must confess, I do not default to this way of love. But for the work of the Holy Spirit, I am much more inclined to withhold than to sacrifice, to deny than to serve, and to love with condition.
But let’s be honest, Jesus wouldn’t give this commandment if it wasn’t possible, would He?
So in this unofficial month of love, let’s show those around us the love we have found in Him and pour it out indiscriminately to those around us. Maybe it looks like bringing a meal to a family, showing unmerited grace to a colleague, or pushing aside our to-do list for a moment to sit with the child in need of our attention.
Let’s choose sacrifice over preservation and service over convenience. True love is found in such things.