Summary: Love-Why? Who? How?
John 13 verses 31-35 2007
I like it when the Bible keeps things simple. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” That’s it! One command! How much easier does it get?
A little girl writes in her letter at Sunday School, “Dear God, I bet it’s very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole wide world. There are only four people in our family and none of us can do it.”
Well maybe it isn’t that simple but it sure is important.
Today I want to examine the topic of Love and ask three simple questions about this one simple word—Why, Who, and How!
Why? Because Jesus said so!
As my kids started getting older I started getting sick and tired of answering all the why questions. So now when they ask why they have to do something, I simply say, “Cause I said so!” It seems to work better than all the reasons I give.
Yet Jesus does give us a reason. He says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciple—that’s Why!” Your love reflects Christ in the world better than any explanation or reason you could possible give that He is Risen!
If you love as Jesus loved you could just throw away all of the other things you are supposed to do. That’s right! Just get rid of all the laws and the 10 commandments—you don’t need them. If you love you won’t steal, kill, commit adultery, lie, cheat, covet. Love fulfills the Law—that’s Why!
Notice who Jesus is addressing when he gives the command. He is addressing his disciples, people who were already part of his family, people who had experienced his grace, people who were in a relationship with him. This new command does not tell you, “Do this if you want to be saved,” but rather, “Do this if you want to glorify God—Do this if you want to praise God—Do this if you want to serve God.”
It is not a command to qualify you for the kingdom. It is a command to you as a member of God’s family. Here is the only place in the Bible where Jesus addresses his disciples as “little children. He speaks to us as part of the family, and how they are to act as family members.
As a parent, I give instructions to my children. If they don’t listen to me, which is quite often, I am sad, hurt, even angry, but I don’t throw them out of the family. Their obedience doesn’t make them members of the family, their birth does. Likewise we are members of God’s family not by what we have done but by birth.
Our obedience is how we glorify God. Jesus tells us we give Glory to the Father of everyone, His family, by loving one another. If it is your intention to glorify God, to praise God who has made you a member of his household, and all the time you disobeyed, which is quite often, if you want to respond to God’s grace in your life, if you want to respond to God’s love in your life, if you want to be a responsible family member, here is how you do that—Love one another—that’s Why!
The question of who or whom to love is the most simple. Those who are part of God’s family—All people! God’s people were greatly divided when Jesus give this command.
Even within the Jewish family there where the Pharisees and Sadducess, the Herodians and Zealots who were constantly fighting over all kinds of matters, they were not loving the aliens or strangers in their land, they hated the Romans, they despised their neighbors to the north—the Samarians. And this is who Jesus commanded they love.
I saw a letter written by a woman to her ex-fiancé that read, “Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great sorry I’ve felt since you breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart. Please forgive me. I love you. I love you. I love you. Yours forever, Marie.
PS—Congratulations on winning the state lottery.”
We love all people—even those who dump us and those who can do nothing for us! That who we are too love!
So how does one keep this simple, yet seemingly impossible command of Jesus?
First we must see what love looks like. Once we come to see what true love is then we know we can’t do it! At least not on our own! The best definition I can see is “Working toward the benefit of another!” You don’t even have to like a person to show love. Love is not a feeling or emotion. Love is action.