Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you: love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34
What memories darted through the disciples’ minds when Jesus commanded them to love each other as He had loved them? Did they recall a quiet conversation around an open fire or the words He used to calm the life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee? Maybe they thought of the tender way He had just washed their grimy feet.
Jesus had demonstrated His love for them in countless ways during the three years the disciples had followed Him. But they didn’t realize that the pinnacle of His love for them would occur in less than twenty-four hours when He offered Himself as the permanent, eternal sacrifice for their sins and ours.
English versions of the Bible use past tense (loved) in verse 34; however, in Greek the aorist tense is used for love, which has no “regard for past, present, or future time.”* In other words, Jesus was referring to the totality of His love for His disciples—every act throughout eternity.
In no way do I want to diminish the love Jesus demonstrated for us on the cross. Words cannot convey my gratitude for His selfless redemptive act. But honestly, it’s the everyday love of Jesus that astounds me on a continual basis.
He didn’t redeem me and then walk away, leaving me to muddle through life on my own. As my High Priest, He listens to every prayer I utter, from “help me find my keys” to “show our leaders how to best handle ISIS.” He sends His angels to protect me every time I drive somewhere and provides wisdom as I complete work assignments. He calms me when inadequacy or fear attack me. Daily, He pours out His love in unnumbered ways for me and for every other one of His millions of disciples. How mind-boggling is the depth and breadth of His love!
As we grab hold of the immensity of Jesus’ eternal love, we increase our understanding of “love others as I have loved you.” Every day in myriad ways for as long as we live, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to allow Jesus’ love to flow through us to others.
How will you manifest Jesus’ everyday love today?
Read 1 John 3:10-24. John’s gospel and his letters were written at least 50 years after Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 13:34. What light does the 1 John passage shed on the meaning of “love as I have loved you”?
Peter also heard the “new commandment.” Read 1 Peter 1:17-25. What does he say about the relationship between the love Jesus demonstrated for us and our responsibility to love each other?
Read John 21:1-17. In what ways do Jesus’ actions and words in this passage demonstrate the many aspects of “love one another” He wanted His disciples to understand?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of an Easter series: The Upper Room Teachings under Dig into Easter
*See definition of aorist tense by clicking “parse” next to the word agapao in the interlinear reference to John 13:34 at “Blue Letter Bible – Jhn 13: Gospel of John 13 (Blue Letter Bible: KJV – King James Version).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 22 Feb, 2016. http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/jhn/13/34/t_conc_1010034