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Before we embark on an engrossing expedition into the scriptures for finding out that simple answer to the simpler question posed above but definitely the most difficult virtue to practice, let us define what the word “We” in the title above refers to: of course, it refers to the special, privileged & blessed sect called “Christians” – ‘We the Christians’.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). That intimate family relationship that Christ and His church have for one another is how the world will know that we are His disciples. In fact, the title “Christian” that we carry proudly around was given to us by the 1st century ‘non-Christians’ for the very reason that the Apostles and the followers of Christ exuberated the love & compassion of Christ so much that each one of them carried and resemblance to the characteristics of Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Peter was so strong in himself that he said he would lay down his life for Christ's sake and he ultimately did so too. And so were all the disciples & early centuries’ followers of Christ, several of whom had not even met the Lord in flesh including Apostle Paul. It is on their precious spill of blood and martyrdom that we have built our modern Christendom.
“For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). The word for ’love’ that John uses here is agape, which refers to a rock solid, committed kind of love. It is a word that is used to describe the way a father loves his son. Or the way a husband loves his wife. Or the way a mother loves her little girl. We are to love one another with the same kind of love. That is the new command of Christ.
The common question that is pronounced by most of the 21st Millenium Christians, ‘why we should Love one another’ can be answered by not one but six absolute reasons:
Having unfurled the theolographical components of Jesus’ requisites for ‘Discipleship’ let us meditate & explore the practical implication of the meaning of John 13:35. For an easy & immediate reference, we can turn to Apostle Paul’s thesaurus in his epistle to the Galatians: "Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). In Paul's mind, our aim in every relationship should be ultimately to awaken and strengthen and deepen a joyful, fruitful passion for God through Jesus Christ. In other words, loving each other is the living evidence that we are born of God. That we are His children, that we share His nature. In a Christological capsule, this is simply means, ‘if you love your neighbor, it amounts to loving Jesus and the Heavenly Father’.
Therefore, let us view the new command of Jesus in a new perspective understanding that it does not preach a superficial and ‘passing the buck’ message but a command from the Saviour & Redeemer binding us intrinsically to our salvation because our salvation in effect is dependent upon our acceptance of the teachings & commands of Christ (Mat. 28:18-20) all of which, Christ has highlighted specifically in John 15:1-17. Amen.