“Love one another as I have loved you.”
It’s a simple instruction, really. And yet so profound.
I remember as a kid listening to the liturgy in church, and part of the opening prayer the pastors used most frequently included this recollection.
The prayer referenced the very clear and direct guidance Jesus provided,
“Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like unto it. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In New Testament scripture, it describes further the context of this instruction. Jesus at one point during his ministry, probably more than once, specified that he had new insight to share with respect to God and our relationship with God.
The Jews had the ten commandments of course, and additional laws that had developed over time.
There were hundreds of religious laws, actually. Jesus essentially said, put those aside. You need to do two things if you want to be good with God.
Love each other.
As he approached his Passion, knowing that suffering and death would soon be visited upon him, he reminded his closest friends what he wanted for them: that they love each other in the same way that he loved them.
Simple instruction. And why profound?
My take is that Jesus brought this up one last time to his friends because it was so fundamental to what he believed, what he knew, about the nature of God. This mandate above all else was what he wanted them to follow, to be closer to each other, and to God.
Jesus’s words still ring true 2,000 years later. Love God and love each other. Love as Jesus did. Love and serve each other. Everything else follows properly if we do these two fundamental things.
There’s something else too. Maybe by focusing on this message, re-enforcing these words to his friends, it helped him cope with the difficult road he would soon face, the final passage to his end.
I can imagine an urgency in his voice, insisting they listen, beseeching them to follow this simple instruction.
It’s not easy sometimes, but I’m going to try to listen too, try harder to follow this instruction.
The Greatest Commandments: Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27; John 13:14–17 (NKJV)