“As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34b).
When Jesus said these words to the apostles, He had not yet been crucified. They knew that He had cared for them, protected them, and taught them, but they had not yet seen the full measure of His love. In less than 24 hours they would see it, though they wouldn’t understand for a while longer still.
We, however, know quite well what Christ meant when He said, “As I have loved you.”
He showed us that love is not neat or easy. Love doesn’t keep its distance. Love doesn’t maintain its dignity.
Love gets in deep. Love gets messy. Love means humility – sometimes even humiliation. Most of all, love gives til it hurts then keeps on giving.
Our ancestors in the faith have showed us what they understood love to mean – from the believers who “gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (2 Cor 8:3) to those who stayed during plagues to care for their neighbors.
In a day when many Christians show their love by praying a quick prayer and writing a check for $20, we need to meditate on the lesson in love Christ gave us on the cross.