Love One Another
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. … These things I command you, that you love one another.”
John 15:12, 17 (NKJV)
Mark Twain (real name Oscar Clemmensen) once said something along the lines that it was not what he didn’t understand in the Bible that troubled him, but what he did understand.
Here’s a passage that’s very clear. No tricky Greek. No ambiguity. What’s not to understand? But so often we prefer to argue about other things. Don’t get me wrong, often other things are important in the Christian life. But this is the priority that Jesus set for us.
There is an enduring legend about the apostle John. In his latter years, of great age and infirmity, he once was carried into the church at Ephesus to give the sermon. He raised himself up on one elbow and cried out, “Brethren, love one another”, and lapsed into silence. That was his sermon.
And what a transformed world it would be if everyone did as Christ commanded us. If you love someone, it’s difficult to murder them, or injure them, or cheat them, steal from them, even hate them.
But the beauty of this command from our elder brother and our God (John 20:28) is that it doesn’t depend on the other fellow. We can practise loving even those who hate us and despitefully use us. And, what’s more, they can’t stop us loving them no matter what they try!
But it’s not natural. Human beings don’t normally love one another. We don’t normally even like too many of us, just our circle of close friends, our close family and our partner in life. Difficult, isn’t it? But then that’s why we are given our 70 years—to practice on each other.
Most merciful Father, thank you for revealing your priority for us, on what you want us to concentrate in our Christian walk with you. Give us the mind-set to practice what you preached through your Son, help us by our determining to keep trying, even when we fall down as so often we do.
In Jesus’ name
Study by John Stettaford