What is it that defines us as Christians? We could be defined by our mission- to make disciples. We could be defined by our worship. But the one thing that should define us more than anything else, that can really set us apart is love.
The call to love one another is repeated thirteen times in Scripture. It is given by three different authors in six different books. It is the one principle on which all the other one another principles depend.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
We tend to see love as a purely emotional response. We fall into love. We fall out of it. We can't determine whom we will love, or why. It just happens. Jesus' view of love, however, is different. It is not primarily a feeling but a choice. It's a decision to treat someone in a gracious and generous manner. The love Jesus commands is not how I feel about you but how I treat you. It's based on what I can do for you, not what you can do for me.
It’s a new kind of love.
Jesus doesn't just give us this new command to love one another, but He attaches it to the highest standard, the greatest measure imaginable.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Some things to think about:
1. Why do you think Jesus puts such a high priority on how Christians treat each other?
2. What does it mean to love one another as Jesus loves us?