A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Israel. It was a dream come true. We visited a lot of places, but I was amazed when we walked through the Garden of Gethsemane and later witnessed the place where Jesus was crucified. Although I know how the story ends, I thought about how love showed itself by hanging on a cross.
Jesus’ life was not taken from him. He freely gave up his life because of love. Love is not just an emotion; it is a commitment. Jesus committed his life to save the lives of those he created. He could not stand to see an entire world perish. He did not do it without giving us a challenge: “Love one another; as I have loved you.” I can understand the “love one another” part, but “as I have loved you”… this is where I struggle.
Jesus loved in spite of the treatment he received from others. The night of his final decision to do the Father’s will, he was betrayed and denied not by his enemies, but by his friends. After Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, he still called him friend when they came to arrest him in the garden. The way Jesus loved is so beyond what my mind can comprehend. Jesus loved us because he knew that nothing short of unconditional love would cause our sins to be fully forgiven.
It is now my turn to pray as Jesus did in the garden. I must ask God to help me love others. My prayer is not to love others as they love me, but to love them as Jesus loved us. He looked beyond the offenses and found a sense of peace in doing the Father’s will. That was his total focus. I pray for a willing heart to forgive during and after an offense. I want to be known as a disciple of Christ. Let’s pray for each other.
God bless you!