John 13:34-35 (NIV): “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In John’s Gospel reading for today, Jesus had just sent out, Judas, the betrayer, from his close fellowship of disciples. Jesus was about to institute the Last Supper for his disciples and Judas would have no part in that fellowship. Judas loved money and the things of this world more than he loved Jesus and there was no place for him in sharing this last meal with Christ. The heart of Judas was apparently filled with greed and love of self. Although he had spent three years being a disciple of Jesus, he couldn’t accept into his heart what Jesus was all about. It’s difficult for me to fathom how Judas could have spent this time with Jesus and not been changed in a way that opened his heart to selfless service, compassion, and love towards others. It appears that Judas loved the material things of life more than he loved or cared for his fellow man. Where are you in regards with love for others or love of self?
I meet so many people today, both church and unchurched, that fail to grasp this command to “love one another.” Jesus warned us that in the last days, “because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). We certainly don’t have to look very far today to see this becoming a reality. There are exceptions of course, but as a general rule, most people are focused on the love of self and the things of this world. I can’t call myself a follower of Jesus unless I try my best to follow his last command to “love one another.” If this is an area of your walk with God that you struggle with, ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to open eyes and your heart to those around you who could benefit from the love, compassion, and mercy of Christ.
Jesus loves us so much that he laid down his life for each of us. There is simply no greater love than this. How can we not respond with love to those whom Jesus loves?