During the last Passover meal Jesus had with His disciples, after He had explained what He had done in washing their feet, He told them that one of them would betray Him. Once He had given the bread to Judas, and Judas had left the room, Jesus turned to His remaining disciples to give them His last instructions.
“Dear children,” He said, “I will be with you only a little longer. And, as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for Me, but you can’t come where I am going.”“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” John 13:33-35 NLT
Jesus’ love for His disciples is the standard He gave to them by which to measure their love for each other. For three years, He had been with them– in their spiritual triumphs and failures, encouraging them when they were afraid, teaching them when they could not understand, testing them, and preparing them for His departure. Through it all, His love for them was completely consistent; it came from His being as its source, and was not dependent on them or their performance.
The Love of Jesus, which His followers now have for each other, is proof to the world that we are His followers. This means that Jesus’ love surpasses ordinary love; it is this love, in times and places where you would not expect to see love, that makes men notice that there is something different about these “Jesus” people. Paul tells us that “The Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”
So we see that Jesus’ new commandment, “Love one another, as I have loved you”, is accompanied by the generous supply of the Love of God, brought to us by the Holy Spirit. No man, in his own strength, can love like Jesus did; but to those who follow Him, He gives the Love of God– a love so far beyond ordinary human love, that the world will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.