As I have loved you.
John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus said this within the last few days of His life. Within the last few moments He had with His discples, this was one the words of Wisdom He wanted them to hear. He’s commanding them to take note of how He loves them, because that’s how they need to love one another.
Whilst He says all of this, one of His disciples is about to betray Him. Another disciple is about to deny who He was three times. And Jesus knew all of that, yet He still proclaimed His love for them.
He loves us the same. Despite the fact that sometimes we’re too embarrassed to speak about our relationship with Him. And despite the fact that we are all constantly sinning, big or small. Also despite the fact that sometimes He doesn’t come first in our busy lives. We forget to spend time with Him, or even just pray, when life gets busy. And sometimes we forget all of His faithful promises when life goes downhill and all we see is our problem.
Imagine if that was a real life relationship? It would be totally dysfunctional, right?
But that’s the amazing thing about Jesus – He’s gracious. He has mercy and grace in our difficult, humane moments. His love is so deep and so faithful, that none of that matters to Him. He just wants to love us.
And that’s how He wants us to love the people in our world too. He wants us to be gracious in the moments when they’re difficult to understand and get along with. He wants us to forgive endlessly, having mercy on each other for our failures. He wants us to love deeply and fearlessly – a love that’s hard to come by in this messy, dark world. A love that shines Jesus’ light so brightly for the world to see.