“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.”
Let it be fixed in your mind that the passage above was spoken by Jesus in the same room on the same night as the “foot washing” that we discussed yesterday! These words have TEETH. What is below the surface is the word Jesus uses for “love” in this passage. The Greek word “agape” was a little (almost never) used word. Ancient Greek writings prior to the New Testament reference the word so scarcely, some thought the word may have been made up. Jesus who took a word that had almost no meaning and TOTALLY INFUSED IT WITH THE CHARACTER OF GOD. This is significant on so many levels – for example, when John uses the word “love” in 1 John 4:7-16:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Every time John uses the word “love” in this passage, he’s using the word Jesus snatched from obscurity and infused with foot-washing meaning… agape. Nothing could be clearer from Scripture, that the very nature of God is this selfless, others serving, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of character, mindset, and behavior.
What is the source of this “agape” in our lives?
How do we integrate practical agape into our daily lives?
Why would Jesus call it a “command” in John 13?
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
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.