These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:11-12
“Brother do you love me?” asked one of my jokester friends at Bible college one day. I was kind of puzzled where Jose was going with this so I decided to play along. “Okay Jose. I love you. What do you need?’ I answered. “Then obey my commandments!” he shouted with a big grin. Now that is a special memory and kind of a funny story that I still carry after fifty years, but it got me to thinking about Jesus and His commandment. We might think about it this way – the Pharisees had a list of six hundred plus commandments, Moses gave us ten, but Jesus narrowed the list down to one. Think of it like me going into the grocery store. In my hand is a list of four things which my wife has carefully written down. Nancy being a detail person usually includes things like the brand, and size she needs and even the aisle where I can find her items. Imagine her response if I returned home with two of the four things missing! Yet this happens every day with us. Jesus only left us one commandment – love one another as I have loved you.” Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why everybody loves Jesus! Jewish people love him as a great teacher, Muslims love Him as a general in God’s army, Hindus love His peaceful resistance to unjust authority and even a good number of professed atheists think He was a nice guy. The reason these folks generally never show up for church has a lot less to do with Jesus than with how we flop at obeying His commandment.
So how can we do better? First, we could start remembering that His great commandment is not a nice suggestion. Swindlers and sick folks, strangers and thieves all felt right at home with Jesus. They each came to Him, not because He was one of them; but because they knew that He cared about them and was ready to help at any hour of the day or night. The problem is they often don’t feel that way with us. So then, who can I love today like Jesus loved me? I am convinced that God has a detailed grocery list that includes their brand, size and location and we can be assured that it will be the joy of His heart to show us exactly how if we are ready to obey!