Bible Society of South Africa

The one command of Jesus … – 14 April 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

12My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them. 14And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17This, then, is what I command you: love one another.

John 15:12-17GNBOpen in Bible reader

“Love” has become the one word that has lost its true meaning the most in this world. It has shrunk so much in meaning that Tina Turner could ask in the 1980’s, “What’s love, but a secondhand emotion?” However, the love of God transcends this worldly love by far. It is not just cheap words and feelings. It is not temporary or short-lived. Jesus proved his love by giving his all, including sacrificing himself for us. This is the greatest form of love that Jesus mentioned in verse 13 – to lay down your life for your friends.

It is from this sacrificial love that Jesus gave us new life. He further boiled down his commands to the singular command – follow my example. Love each other as I have loved you. We were chosen by Christ for a life of love. We were appointed as his disciples to follow him and to share his love with the world. We are called to bear the fruit that the Father desires. This fruit, we have seen this week, is the love of God reaching the world; self-sacrificing, practical deeds of love. We become Jesus’ hands reaching out to our fellow man. We become his feet, going to the people in need around us, sharing love in a practical, transformational way.

To reach our goal, Jesus has unlocked the potential for us to pray. We are always connected to God in prayer. We pray to remember that we belong to him and to remember that we are dependent on his grace. We pray to submit our own will and desires to his way. We open our hearts to be filled with love overflowing, to satisfy the world’s hunger and thirst.

Jesus was so adamant about this one command that he repeated it three times, the night before he died. We see it again in verse 17, as we have seen it in John 13:34 and John15:12. Jesus commands us: love each other. This command must be obeyed in our marriages, in our parenthood, in our churches and wherever we go. The love of Christ must characterise our whole life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, the love of God is the mightiest force in the universe. Through this love, you have created me, you have saved me and you gave me life. Help me, now, to be a channel of your love to all mankind around me. May people know your love when they see me today. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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