John 13:21-35

Who taught you how to love? Reflect on that question for a few
moments. Was it a parent or a grandparent? A Sunday school teacher
or a friend? I think about my parents, sisters, spouse, children,
church members, and the close friends that I’ve known for years.
Each one has taught me something I needed to know about love.
When you think about the people or circumstances that have shaped
your understanding of love and how to express it, what did you learn
from them?

Sometimes our early lessons about love are not beneficial. Thankfully, through God’s grace, we can unlearn any unhealthy patterns that we were taught and discover what genuine love is. The challenge in today’s text is not just that Jesus commands us to love one another, but that loving one another is what will identify us as disciples of Christ. Since Jesus gives this new commandment to his disciples, love becomes a humble act of obedience rather than a feeling.

Obedience is not a popular idea, but Jesus’ command is not about miserable compliance. Love is the fruit of our relationship with Christ. This is why Jesus tells us to love one another “just as I have loved you” (v. 34). Love is not something we define as we wish. Real love is the way of life revealed to us in Jesus Christ. This way of life is not one we choose because we feel like it. We choose love in obedience to Christ.


How is God calling you to love others?


Merciful God, fill me with your Spirit and send me into the world today to be a living expression of your unconquerable love. Amen.

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