Just before Jesus died at Golgotha, He gave to His disciples a new commandment, “…that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another.” This far exceeded the ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ commandment, and stays in line with Jesus teaching about going above and beyond what is asked (Mt. 5:39-48). So, I guess to see how we need to love each other, we should first look at some of the ways Jesus loved.
Then Peter answered and said to Him, Explain this parable to us. And Jesus said, Are you also still without understanding? Mt. 15:15,16
This is just one more time Jesus showed great patience with His followers. They never seemed to understand Him, constantly bickered over unimportant matters, lacked faith despite all they saw, yet He would calmly and consistently show love and continue to befriend and teach them.
But seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion on them… Mt. 9:36
Then Jesus called His disciples and said, I have compassion on the crowd because they continue with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. Mt. 15:32 (compassion- a sensation of sorrow brought on by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration)
Jesus was moved- felt strongly towards them. He cared deeply about their needs and well-being. He supplied the food they needed. He strengthened them.
(Jesus) He rose up from supper and laid aside His garments. And He took a towel and girded Himself. After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Jh. 13:4,5
Jesus willingly took on the servant or slave position, kneeling down at the feet of sinners, fair weather friends and betrayer, in humble service to those who seemed to want to be more important than others. He took their dirty feet into His hands and washed them.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Jh. 14:27
I have spoken these things to you so that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full. Jh. 15:11
Jesus loved so much that He gave them true peace and joy. He tried to ease their fears. Though we cannot give this same peace and joy, we can try to keep peace with our brothers and sisters, and bring joy to their lives. Imagine if this was more a priority to us than our own peace and joy.
As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; continue in My love. Jh. 15:9
Jesus loved His followers the same way the Father loves us: who loved us enough to sacrifice the life of His beloved Son for those who did wrong. And we also have to realize, He allowed Jesus to come in mortal body, thus separating Father and Son in a way that they’d never experienced before! The Father loves us so much He adopts us into His family (1Jh. 3:1). He provides for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1Jh. 3:16 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself… Jh. 10:18
Jesus willingly sacrificed His own life for us though we were sinners (Rom. 5:8). He quietly suffered pain and death; never railed or condemned, didn’t fight back, throw insults, scream or curse, but allowed Himself to bear the full brunt of our shame pouring out His love with every drop of blood.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church. Eph. 5:29 (nourish- to feed, cause to grow, to support, encourage, instruct; cherish- treat with tenderness and affection, give warmth, ease or comfort to, to hold dear, encourage growth, to harbour, indulge)
To give someone everything they need for growth, encourage them in the way, teach them all they need to know, treat tenderly, affectionately, warmly, give comfort, protect, lavish upon and hold them dear… yep, that sounds like the Jesus I read about in the Bible.
So now that we’ve read some of the ways Jesus loves, let’s look in the mirror and see if we are following the commandment to love others like Him. It’s easy to do if someone is kind to us or doesn’t have many needs, but what about those who are offensive, arrogant, living below our expectations, always in tribulation, sick, or depressed, irritating, shallow, error prone, demanding, indifferent, etc. Do we love them like Jesus? Jesus didn’t make exceptions but loved all and treated all with love even while expressing truth. He gave above and beyond. He cherished and nourished. He laid down His life for us.
Do we do the same for each other?