At Christmas, our young children love to unwrap presents. To say they are excited to discover what is inside the colorful packages would be a huge understatement. It is almost as if these new clothes will give them a brand-new identity and their new toys will launch them on an exciting new journey. Of course, as parents, we know that their initial delight at these new possessions will eventually fade. In contrast, the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is something extraordinary that will never wear out or fade away. When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we begin a new journey with a new purpose. And, Jesus gives us a new way to live. Hours before he died, Jesus Christ gave his closest followers a new command: “Love each other” (v. 12). As easy as that may sound, Jesus knew this would be extremely difficult for His disciples and for us.
Living and loving as Christ loved us will ultimately bring delight and joy to our heavenly Father and have a transforming effect on us as well. In verse 11, Jesus reveals that as we love Him, His joy will take root in our lives. Joy is not the same as mere happiness or excitement, but rather a deep satisfaction that comes from being in step with God and His perfect will. Thankfully, we are given Christ’s life as an example (vv. 12–13). Just as He surrendered His life, we are to lay down our lives for Him.
Jesus also gave His disciples a new title. They were no longer referred to as servants, but as friends (vv. 14–16). This distinction was given because Jesus wanted them to understand that their lives were to be lived for God and for one another. Christ gave them, and us, a new way to live which is centered around loving one another (v. 17).
>>Starting something new can be intimidating. But with Christ as our guide, the new journey is worth it. Make it a point to start each day this week with us, as we grow in living new lives for Jesus.
You know the limits of our human hearts, yet you have told us to love one another in the same way you love us. Fill us with your love for one another as we live our lives for you.