It makes sense that the world should be able to identify God’s children by God’s most prominent feature: love. In John’s gospel Jesus is addressing His followers with these words:
“I am giving you a new commandment. (…) Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
At first sight Jesus’ love commandment does not seem to be new at all. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a quote from the Torah, which was written more than a 1000 years before Jesus was born. This statement mirrors the famous Golden Rule of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself.
Comparing the Golden Rule with Jesus’ new commandment, there is a significant difference though: Instead of treating others like you want to be treated Jesus basically says: treat others as I treat you. So what is new about Jesus’ love commandment is its personalized edition, which goes indeed beyond the Golden Rule. Dying so that others may live definitely takes love to the next level.
The apostle John so eloquently writes in his first letter to the church:
“We saw him (Jesus) with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life (1 John 1:1).”
While the world did witness Jesus’ love when He walked this earth, it seemingly had a hard time grasping it. Receiving Jesus’ love without trying to understand it is the first step of faith. Let Jesus’ love sweep you up, embrace you, heal you, carry you, inform you of who you are in God’s eyes. That will revolutionize your way of thinking and acting. As you experience Him you will also learn how to love well; and in the process the world around you gets a taste of the same Jesus who walked this earth 2000 years ago – by seeing Him alive and well inside of you.