This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you.
Jesus gives his followers two reasons to love each other:
- Because he said to! Disciples of Jesus are to follow his instruction. Jesus is equal with God, and as our creator he has authority to give commands that we are obligated to follow.
- Because Jesus loved us first. Disciples of Jesus are imitators of Jesus. As a perfect human being, Jesus modeled the behavior that humans should exhibit. Jesus modeled love for others, and we should follow in his footsteps.
We don’t love others because they are just so lovable. We don’t love others because of our own innate feelings. Although, hopefully, if we recognize the value that God places on each and every one of his creation, if we see every person as an image-bearer of God, we will begin to value people more and see them as worthy of our love. Hopefully, as we practice showing love to others, it becomes more and more natural and desirable to be loving. But, ultimately, loving others is not about them or us, but about God. We love others because God loves us and because we love God.