Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12.
In the upper room, at the Last Supper, on the night Jesus was betrayed, Jesus gave a New Commandment. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34,35. On one hand, this was nothing new. From the beginning God’s law required that you love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). What was new about this commandment in the upper room was that Jesus changed it to “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” No longer is the benchmark for love our love for ourselves. Now the benchmark is the love of Christ for us. And Christ loved us so much that he endured suffering and death on a cross.
According to Christ, love is the sure sign and symbol that someone is truly a Christian. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” We adopt many marks and symbols hoping to communicate that we are Christians: Cross necklaces, wristbands, rings, bumper stickers, etc. All of those can be present, but without love for the brethren, there is no true Christian.
Love did not, does not, originate with us. We only reflect and pay forward God’s love for us in Christ. “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning Sacrifice for our sins.” We live in days when love is needed more than ever. True Christian love! Sacrificial love. Sacrifice some time and help someone. Step out of your comfort zone and lend some aid. Put old conflict and antagonisms aside, forgive, and be kind. Share the good news of forgiveness and eternal life with Christ with someone who is struggling. It’s always awkward and maybe a little uncomfortable to do so. That’s laying yourself down like Christ laid himself down. He put himself last in order to put others first.
Christ loves you all day, every day. Pray for grace and strength to love. Pray that God through His Word will work and establish Christ’s love in you. With Christ’s love we will make these difficult days better.