Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask
the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you
for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,
because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him,
because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
A little exercise I like to do with married couples is to ask them to make a list of five things their spouse does that makes him or her feel loved. I often hear surprised wives and husbands exclaim: “I never knew my doing that makes you feel loved!”
It should be no surprise that we show Jesus we love Him by doing what He asks. That’s a love language anyone can understand. So in today’s scripture Jesus says that if we love Him we do what He asks: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” That’s what love does!
As Jesus talks about keeping His commands, His disciples would have thought of the “new commandment” Jesus gave a few moments earlier. He said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another” (John 13:34). That’s the commandment fresh in their minds. Jesus’ proven love for them, even for His betrayer, was the “new” standard for love and the “new” source of their love. As they daily let Jesus love them, they would find themselves empowered to love as He loves. As they daily “live on” Jesus’ love, they will “live out” His love in the world.
One of the men listening to Jesus give His new commandment was the young John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. John was a tempestuous personality who once wanted to call down fire on a village (Luke 9:54). Jesus had even nicknamed John and his brother James “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). That’s how fiery they were. But Jesus’ love for John so transformed him that history came to call him “the apostle of love”. That’s what the love of Jesus can do! It transformed John from a son of thunder to the apostle of love!
John later wrote a letter to first century Christians describing love: “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 John 3:16). The standard for love is Christ’s love for us, and the source of that love is Christ’s love for us. We love as Jesus’ love fills us. John of the Cross said: “At the evening of life, we shall be judged by our love.” (John of the Cross, Dichos 64)
- The world talks a lot about love. What is Jesus’ standard for love?
- What are some ways that Jesus shows His love for me?
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)