34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Gary Smalley, a Christian counselor, stated that, “Love is a decision.” When you think about it you realize that for love to be always constant it cannot be simply an emotion. Emotions, as we all know, are changeable. I have often restated Smalley’s statement as “Love is a commitment.” We choose to love. It is as simple and as hard as that. A relationship that is for the “long haul” is more than an ephemeral emotion. Have you ever heard someone say that they could not understand what someone saw in their husband or wife? Love is not about looks or emotions but rather a decision made based mostly on things unseen or even felt.
It is interesting to see that this scripture portion takes place just before Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him. I know Jesus was referring to his coming betrayal and death and that all Peter seemed to be able to focus on was that Jesus was going somewhere he could not follow. Because of that he also seemed miss the command Jesus gave about loving one another. Actually he didn’t, but he did seem to misunderstand the real focus of the command and thus focused on where Jesus was going.
In the context of this scripture portion I would also urge you to read 1 John 4:7 – 12. Especially note verses 10 and 11, “10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
The season of advent is really about love. It is about God’s great love for his creation and the plans He set in motion from the beginning of time to show His love. We are not asked to do something that is impossible. We are asked to love as He loved us. If each of us is loveable in His sight how then can we shy away from showing love to one another? In fact, Jesus made it a command, not an option. Our feelings are not involved here but our decisions/choices are definitely involved. Choose to love one another as that is the premier way of showing our love for Jesus.
In your prayers today, ask God to give you his abundant and overflowing love to give to others. Also remember that loving others is a commitment on your part – one made to God more than any human. You’ll need God’s help to keep it.