This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
Raffaele Spitale: Italian Theological Academy | Italy
This verse introduces us to a key truth of the gospel. We, Christ’s disciples, are called to love one another in the same way Christ loved us. In today’s world, the word “love” often simply refers to an emotion derived from circumstances. It is, in other words, a temporal and conditional feeling. In this verse, however, Jesus calls us not simply to love one another, but specifically to love as He loved us. Jesus Christ is the only true and perfect standard of love. This love was manifested in His willingness to lay down His life for undeserving sinners. The love of this world has nothing to do with the love of Christ. The love of this command is an unconditional willingness to sacrifice oneself for the benefit of others. In fact, we are even called, if necessary, to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16), just as Christ did for us. The love of this world has nothing to do with the love of Christ. This is the true Christian love that contrasts the selfish, temporal, and conditional love of this world. But what is the aim of this command? It’s not only to instruct believers to love but to lead them to proclaim the true and only God by reflecting His love in this world. In fact, by loving one another all men will know that we are His disciples (John 13:35). By this love, we manifest the glorious nature of God’s love and the evidence of God’s saving work in us (1 John 4:7), to the praise of His glory.