Have you ever been the recipient of an act of love that moved your heart deeply? Imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus washed their feet and then spoke these three words to them: “Love one another” (v. 17). They had just completed their Passover meal when Jesus urged them to be bonded together by love.
What was the significance of this command? The Moody Bible Institute Commentary provides this answer: “The command to love requires a supernatural component to fulfill, requires faith, and is more a choice than an emotion.” In this month’s study, we will take a deep dive into this and other “one another” passages to better understand Jesus’ desire for us to live in Christian community.
In John 15, Jesus said that when we remain in His love and have love for one another, our joy will be complete (vv. 10–11). In other words, true joy can only be experienced when it comes from an outpouring of sacrificial and selfless love. You know this to be true if you have ever celebrated the success of a child, grandchild, or friend. We take joy not in ourselves, but in someone else.
Next, Jesus shared that the greatest type of love is sacrificial (v. 13). Here He was foreshadowing His death on the cross. Jesus longed for His followers to become closer to one another. Notice that He used the word “friends” in verses 14–15. In today’s context, this means that as Christ followers we are no longer just associates, but family, chosen for the purpose of bearing fruit (v. 16). If you are a follower of Jesus, you have become a part of His family, and are commanded to “love one another” (v. 17).
>> Consider the closest people in your life. What makes your relationship with them so special? This may be the perfect month to invite those people to join you in a Bible study, learning how you can grow together in Christ.
Father, grant us greater understanding of Your love for us and through us extend Your love toward other people. As we go through this study, show us unloving patterns in our lives so we can repent, becoming more like You.