- I love the Christmas season.
- I love the Dallas Mavericks.
- I love my wife. (and my kids too)
- I love triple chocolate fudge ice cream.
I love …
We love lots of things and use the word quiet liberally in reference to our fondness of many different items. Of course, we don’t love ice cream with the same depth and earnest that we love our family. But we use the word so often and in reference to so many different things, that we are in danger of losing the meaning of the word love when we encounter it. This can be especially true in scripture.
Jesus speaks these words in John 13:34:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By
thisall men may know that you are my disciples,if you love one another.
You are probably very familiar with this verse or something similar about loving each other, loving our neighbors, or the golden rule. And because we have heard/read it so often, we can miss the true meaning of Jesus’s powerful words.
Jesus says he is giving a “new command” to love one another, but God had given this command to Moses and Hebrew people in the wilderness (Leviticus 19:18). So, how is this a new command? It is new in the sense of the manner in which we are to love – “As I have loved you.” We are to love in the way that Jesus demonstrated love. How did Jesus love? Not show love only to friends and family, but to love the stranger and even our enemy. Jesus loved abundantly, generously, self-sacrificially, and not expecting anything in return for his love. Jesus loved us by voluntarily giving up his very life for our benefit.
Do I love like that? Do I love like Jesus loved?
At Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we reflect on this great gift of love from our Heavenly Father. Let us, in turn, embody the greatest example of love.
- May our love proclaim the presence of Jesus as clearly as the angels’ proclamation to the shepherds.
- May our love for one another shine so bright it would point people to Jesus like the star that led the Magi to Jesus.
The most defining and distinguishing characteristic of a disciple of Christ should be, not the size of the nativity set in our front yard, not the amount of Bible knowledge I have attained, not the number of gifts I give to my family, but actively loving each other the way that Jesus loves us!