Our Lord’s most intimate teaching and, in essence, His last “Command,” is found in what is commonly called the Upper Room Discourse. He is about to be savagely treated, but He made time to wash His disciples’ feet, eat with them, and encourage them:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-45 NIV84)
The Son of Thunder, who has become the Beloved Disciple, echoes this in 1 John 4:7-8:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7–8 NIV84).
And this Love is not syrupy, but substantial: Unconditional, Sacrificial and Other Centered:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NIV84).
So why is Loving one another so important? One simple answer is because the world is going to hate us. It hated Jesus, so why are we so surprised (see John 15:18)? Our Lord is telling us, “You are all you have so try to get along.” How are we doing?