If hate could heal the world, the world wouldn’t be this broken. Hate, like cancer, is eating into the earth like a vulture eats carcass. Love, like healing rain, is the only web that unity, trust, understanding, faithfulness and truth can connect to. The concept of love has not been over-emphasized: it has only been misconstrued.
Loving God (Deut 6:5) and loving your neighbour (Lev 19:18) were laws in the Torah that God instructed the people of Israel through Moses, so loving one another is an age-old concept. However, because there are different words for love in Greek, the “old” commandment sounded like this; Love God with the love of God (Greek: Agape) and love your neighbor with brotherly love (Greek: philia).
In John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loves Him with the Love of God (agape). Peter responded that he loved Him as a brother (phileo). In other words, we are not fully loving if we do not love how Love loves. Love loves freely and fully. Love is not even fully manifested in brotherly love, which loves people of their kind only. Love is only fully manifested in agape, the God-kind of Love. Love loves all the way through.
Jesus is saying He is giving us a new commandment. What makes this commandment new? Here it is; “As I have loved you”. A quick question anyone will ask is, “How do I love another with the Love of God?”. Jesus answered that perfectly; “As I have loved you”. Jesus is the epitome and embodiment of the Love of God. Romans 5:5 makes us understand that God continually pours His Love into our hearts. He wants you to love Him with this same Love, love yourself, and extend this same Love to others.
This love, of course, won’t make any sense to one who hasn’t encountered the Love of God. It won’t make sense of leave 99 sheep and go in search of one, except when you realize that that one lost sheep was you. It’s the kind of love that waits earnestly at the rooftop, eagerly hoping to see us return home. It’s the kind of love that sees our poor wretched souls from afar and meets us halfway, lavishing us with kisses even in our dirtiness.
It’s not the kind of Love that waits till you’re good enough. It’s the kind of Love that loves you good enough till everything sees it burning in your heart. This is a distinguishing Love: loving one another with the Love of God. God wants to love others through you too. “God loves you” is not enough to make the lost know he is cherished. Jesus wants this unconditional Love to be the distinguishing factor of His disciples. He said, “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” It’s time to walk the talk.