All we need is love?

The language of scripture sometimes throws me. However, in John’s gospel Jesus offers us a beautiful simplification of our call to serve the world in his name. Jesus tells us in chapter 13, verses 34-35:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We have talked a good bit about being disciples and discipleship over the last two years. The word disciple means to be a follower or a student, and we are often tempted to believe that as students of Jesus, our role is to learn about who Jesus was and what Jesus said. However, the true concept of disciple is to be one who learns to live the way that Jesus lived. We learn the way of love. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, “And I will show you a still more excellent way…” and then he begins to speak of love – patient and kind and generous – “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”
Perhaps it would be more understandable if Jesus had said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you do love for one another.” Doing love – living the way of love – takes courage and involves taking risks. We might be rejected or ridiculed or rebuffed in our efforts to do love. But that is what disciples do. That is how disciples live. We are called to live the way of love, and everyone will know the One whom we follow, Jesus Christ, who loved us all the way to the cross – and beyond.

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