Our One Word for the upcoming week is Love, and it’s in the section of our devotional reading that has to do with Christian Character. In other words, Christians ought to be characterized by love.
Of all the gospels, John has the lengthiest discussion of what Jesus said and did on the eve of his crucifixion. In this part of Jesus’s life, there’s a consistent emphasis. After the Last Supper, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, then he connected this action with what he was about to do for them the next day.
In the verses just prior to our text (John 15:1-11), Jesus taught us about the importance of the branches’ connection to the vine. They bear fruit to the extent that they remain connected to the vine–a crucial point for us to understand.
Then–in our paragraph–Jesus comes to his main point: his followers must show love for one another, a theme that consumes much of this chapter and the following ones. The command, “Love one another,” though, isn’t surprising, but Jesus doesn’t stop there. He says, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
There’s a kind of pseudo-love that’s much easier and much less demanding. It’s a “love” that’s contingent on the actions of the recipient. I love you, perhaps, because I like you or because you’ve been good to me, or whatever. Or maybe we love one another as long as it doesn’t cost us too much.
That’s not Jesus’s love, though. He tells us to love one another as he has loved us. What does that look like?
Just a few hours later Jesus would go to a wooden cross not far out of Jerusalem and show us what he meant.
“I love you like this,” he said.
“So you love one another like this.