Love Each Other as I have Loved You

In John 15, Jesus shares a number of concepts, consequences and commands. As we review verse 12, we see the first explicitly stated command.

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

While Jesus has certainly given direction and even commands earlier in the text, Love Each Other as I have Loved You is the first explicitly stated command in the passage. By explicitly stating “My command is this”, Jesus evidences the importance of what He is telling the disciples. It also reveals to us what is Jesus’ priority in relating to the body of Christ as we seek to follow Him. As a command, love is not optional for the believer.

First, we are to love God. For we cannot truly love one another if we do not love God. Jesus has equated love of God with obeying His commands. When Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”, He provided the blue print for accomplishing the greatest command: love. First, Jesus shared with the disciples that I have modeled love for you. Remember verse 9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Jesus had washed their feet even the one who would betray Him as well as the one who would deny Him. God called Jesus to love those whom He had given to Him. In doing so, Jesus conveys that loving God is inextricably tied with loving each other, the believer. This is why Jesus says Love Each Other as I have Loved You. 

How did He love them? Philippians 2:8 tells us how. “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Likewise, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) The call to discipleship demands that one completely abandon self. Abandoning self involves surrendering your innate desire to seek comfort, fame, or power. Those are the natural inclinations of the heart. Jesus’ incarnation shows that He figuratively and literally took up His cross though in reality the cross he carried was that of each believer. He endured a physical beating. He carried our crosses. He bore our sins on a cross. He endured separation from the Father because of our sins, so when Jesus says, Love Each Other as I have Loved You, Jesus qualifies the manner in which we should demonstrate our love.

Why does Jesus say Love Each Other as I have Loved You, we show ourselves to be His disciples, and we experience the fruitful life, joy, as He intended for us to live. The next time a believer, especially a spouse or child, gets on your nerves, remember the trivial matter pales in comparison to the sin we commit against God. Remember Jesus. Remember Jesus’ love for you. Then, carry your cross by letting your personal issue die as you put the believer’s welfare before your interest. No matter how we dress it up, our concerns do not equate to what Jesus gave up for us. Philippians 2:8 above reminds us what He gave up. It also qualifies how we are to Love Each Other as I have Loved You.

Love Each Other (L.E.O.) Be Brave, L.E.O.


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