Love One Another

Key Verse: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
—John 13:35

Selected Scriptures:
Mark 12:28-34;
Luke 6:27-31;
John 13:34, 35

WHEN ONE OF THE scribes asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment (Mark 12:28), Jesus saw an opportunity to introduce an important truth of the Gospel message—that of love for one another. From his prehuman experience as the Logos, Jesus knew that love was the basis for God’s plan and that this same God-like characteristic would be required of all seeking to be righteous.

Jesus acknowledged the first, and greatest, commandment, saying: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12: 30) Faith in God and his plan for human redemption should trigger an automatic response of love in our hearts for the knowledge that he “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16), and that “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins.”—Eph 2:4,5

God is deserving of love and obedience from all his intelligent creatures, not merely from the outward appearance, but from the innermost recesses of the heart. Only such love is acceptable to our Creator.

Jesus calls our attention to the second commandment saying, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”—Mark 12:31

In reality he was saying that the way in which we show our love for God, whom we cannot see, is to demonstrate this quality to ‘our neighbor’. Who is our ‘neighbor’? Is it the person who lives next to us, or across the street? Is it the people we see most often in the everyday experiences of life? Jesus’ teaching provides an answer.

First, Jesus shows us that we are to love those who are out of harmony with righteousness—those considered enemies of God and of us. This is a completely unselfish love. It looks for nothing in return from those upon whom it is bestowed. It is a love of the individual, not of the evil they may do against God or his people.

It is the same kind of love God has shown them in that he sent his Son to die “the just for the unjust.” (I Pet. 3:18) As God’s people, we must develop this aspect of love for our neighbor if we are to be found faithful. “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.”—Luke 6:35

The second class Jesus shows as our neighbors are his people seeking to be faithful to him. He says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34,35) Love of our brethren in Christ is a most essential element of the fulfillment of the commandment of love for our neighbor. We love them because we see the character of Christ being developed in their lives. We see them striving against their fallen nature, the world, and the devil to be faithful, even until death and love them. We are also doing so.

Truly it is said, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”—I John 3:14

Dawn Bible Students Association
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