Ezra 6-8
John 21

“If you love Me, keep My commands.” John 14:15

What are the commands that Jesus is referring to from the opening verse of this devotion? Jesus tells us, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). To know Jesus is to love others. We can compare John 15:12 to what Jesus tells His disciples in His earlier teachings, where He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-38). One striking difference that Jesus makes for His disciples is to “love each other as I have loved you.” Our vertical relationship with God should show up in our horizontal relationships with others and Jesus is the actual standard by which our love is measured.
The Apostle John takes this teaching to heart and unpacks this truth in his first letter. He writes, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). The thesis of 1 John is that if we do not understand loving others and harbour hatred towards others, the reality is that we may not even know Jesus Himself. In fact, we probably do not even understand the gospel itself.
John explains in his letter what love looks like in action: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18). As God’s love flows into our lives through the person of Jesus Christ, this love flows through our lives into the world around us through practical actions.
Thus, Jesus describes how our obedience to His ways, His will and His desire actually leads to greater levels of friendship, “You are My friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). Isn’t that amazing? Friendship is a by-product of our obedience to God. As we yield to His life, follow the Spirit’s prompting and align our lives with His teaching, we experience a deeper and more mature level of friendship with the Creator of all things. May we grow to love others as He loves us.
Dear Jesus, I want to deepen my friendship with You as I love others as You have loved me. I yield my life to Your Spirit’s prompting and teaching. Thank You, Lord.

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