Love One Another
AUGUST 24, 2023
In his book Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb wrote that it is hard to develop a personal relationship with an invisible God, one whose voice I never hear the way I hear a friend’s voice over the phone. We can read our Bibles and say our prayers but not have a sense that there is anyone out there with whom we are connecting. It can seem like reading any other book. It can seem like we’re just talking to ourselves.
We can believe the Bible’s theology that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us, but still not experience that in a way that touches our hearts.
On Jesus’s last night with his apostles, just hours before his arrest and trials, he gave what he called a New Commandment. It might be thought of as the Commandment of All Commandments, the Topmost, Supreme, Paramount Commandment: Love One Another.
This love that they were to show one another was a specific kind of love. Jesus defined what this love among his followers was to be like. They were to love one another in the same way that Jesus had loved them.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another (John 13:34).
How was it that Jesus had loved them? It was pictured in what Jesus had just finished doing for them. He had gotten on his knees and washed their feet. Others-focused, sacrificial, service was the way that Jesus loved his disciples and how they were to love one another.
And this, more than their teaching or preaching or anything else, was the primary way that others would know that they were his followers.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).
When we love one another in the way that Jesus loves us, it has the effect of making the love of God something that is not just a theological truth, but a living, breathing thing we experience. In other words, when we love one another as Jesus loved us, we incarnate the love of God for each other.
The love of God becomes not just something that we believe but it becomes alive to us.
Christian fellowship, brothers and sisters in Christ, loving one another, is a means of grace, a way in which we encounter truth that makes it alive.
When you sit with a suffering friend, deliver a meal to a new mom, visit a homebound saint, go behind the fences and razor wire of prison to visit an incarcerated believer, or join a small group in a meal celebrating your oneness in Christ, you are making the love of God visible in ways that bring theological truths to life.