“Love one another just as I have loved you.”
John 15: 12 – 17
Leviticus 19: 18 already gave a command to “Love one’s neighbour as oneself”. Yet, Jesus says in John 13: 34 that He gives us a new commandment to love one another as He loves us. And He repeats this new command in today’s passage. What is the difference between the two?
Jesus sets a higher standard of love. His standard will be both the way to identify true disciples and the indicator that disciples are truly following Him.
Jesus’ standard of love is transformative. It is characterized by self-sacrifice, service, humility and inclusion. In the past the people loved those who were like them or those who lived close to them. This new command expects us to love everyone regardless of background or circumstance. That means loving even those who are different from us or those who are difficult to love.
Jesus gives this new commandment in the context of the Last Supper, which underscores its sacrificial nature. For love’s sake, Jesus laid down His life for everyone and so must we.