A Journey Through John | Love | John 13.34-35 | Movementministriesblog.com.com

by | Jun 8, 2019

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13.34-35

Kathi, Esteban, JP, Victor, Frezier and Weekly. These are the names of the men serving us on the cruise ship this week. It’s luxury at it’s finest. And where its been an incredible adventure and wonderful trip, it’s also an opportunity for us to practice this “new” command that Jesus gave his disciples and that he also gives to us — to love one another.

The new command from Jesus wasn’t actually new. Why would he say that? For emphasis? For us to debate? The Jews knew the command given to Moses in Leviticus 19.18 – “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” This was not a new command, but a reminder of an old command given to God’s people. The problem was, they were not living but it. So Jesus presents it as a new command — “Iove one another…as I have loved you…you MUST (my emphasis) love one another.” 

But loving each other is less than easy. It’s easy on the cruise ship to love those who love us. They serve us, care for us, are trained to smile, make conversation, and accommodate our every need. The harder factor is to love those who do not love us. Those who differ theologically from us in the church, for example. Those who we feel oppose Scripture and a traditional Biblical interpretation for example (which is what I am struggling with as a United Methodist Church pastor).

It’s hard to love those who oppose us. But Jesus says to do it and God reminds us in Leviticus to not “seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone….” Which seems impossible to do! I want to relatilate, fight back, argue for biblical authority and orthodoxy. I want to make a stand that how I interpret Scripture is true and that it’s in keeping with two thousand years of biblical interpretation! 

But I shall not (at least publically more than this blog!). I will practice loving. Caring, showing grace, kindness, forgiveness. I will not accept sin or give allowance for those who do what the Bible says is incompatible with Christian teaching. But I will love all without loving behavior. I can love the person as Jesus did when he died for the sins of the world.

If I want to be his disciple, and I truly have said I do, I must love “as Christ loved me” and laid down his life. That’s the trick isn’t it? To love like Jesus did in Scripture. Even if the world, church and neighborhood seem to be going to hell in a handbasket, I will still love like Jesus. I will love. Jesus loved so much that they killed him for it. Am I prepared to do the same? 

Are you?

“O Lord God, give me courage to love. I am far from you when I sin. Far from you when I seek revenge. Far from you when I hate those I am suppose to love. But you are Soverign. You reign on high and you know all things. In the name of the Jesus of the Bible, I will love. I will care for your people in the midst of the storm. I will love you and trust you every step of my life. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen