In the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus cites the greatest commandment as “to love God and to love neighbor.” Those words come from the Old Testament. But here in John’s gospel, Jesus does not quote the scriptures in this regard. He gives the command to love on his own authority. Here is another place to remember that “if you have seen Jesus you have seen God.” This is God’s command, to love one another as I have loved you.
But there is more. It is by the way we love one another that the people around us, the people watching us, will know that we are Jesus followers. As a child, when I would misbehave or do something that disappointed my mother, she would discipline me. After I was disciplined, I would try to get back on her good side. I would hug her and apologize. She would always smile and say, “I appreciate your apology. But if you love me, show me in the way you behave.” Loving one another is one way of loving God.
This command on the surface seems to apply only to the Christian community. But in John’s gospel, love is not exclusive but reflects the love of God directed to all people. “For God so loved the world…” For the people reading and hearing John’s gospel, God’s love for all people is made concrete in and through the community “God’s Word and God’s touch” come together in and through the Church.
Today, as you go about your day, explore this question: Who will you disciple? It might be as simple as starting by sharing the love of God with people you encounter.
How will Jesus inform your thinking, your decisions, and your relationships? Consider paying attention to all people. Be vulnerable. Who will God love through you today?
At the end of the day, return and reflect upon the scripture and the following question:
- How did you reflect the love of God today?
O God, thank you for loving my family, my co-workers, my friends, and several strangers through me today. I want your love to be reflected in my relationships. I want to love as you have loved me. Thank you for giving me direction in living this life. I am especially grateful that you are helping me become more who you created me to be. Help me focus my eyes more upon Jesus, so I may recognize you more often in the people I meet along the way. Amen.