Bonded to one another
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 12:34-35)
Can you imagine if some of the Pharisee leaders had of overheard this conversation between Jesus and his disciples that night? "A new commandment I am giving you" would have sent their heads spinning! They would have debated the credibility of Jesus and then demanded to know who he was to 'give a new commandment' - because only God could give those! Hmmm...only God could give those...maybe Jesus was really showing his disciples that he and his Father were one - that he was 'really' God with a bod.
The new commandment was not really all that new, but it emphasized a 'new work' Jesus expected from his disciples. They were to 'prove to the world' their faith - through love. In prior times, you 'proved' your faith through 'religious works' such as sacrifices upon the altar, keeping yourself 'ceremonially clean', and following all the rules inherent in the Law of Moses. Jesus is telling them there would be a 'new way' of doing daily life - love being at the core of all they would do.
Just as I have loved you - nothing is better than having an example of 'how' we are supposed to do something. When I get those little illustrated booklets in some piece of furniture I am supposed to assemble, I am grateful for the illustrations because they help me make sense of the assembly. Jesus gave repeated illustrations of his love while on this earth. He embraced the unlovely, hung out with those society considered to be outcasts, and welcomed the faint of heart. Love does things differently than one might expect, huh?
Love begins at home - isn't that what Jesus meant when he told them to love each other? Begin with those closest to you - laborers in the daily journey we call life. Then allow that love to flow out of that bond with each other - so others begin to experience the love of God in their own lives. We ALL learn best when there is an example. Jesus wasn't telling them to make a show of their love, but to live 'bonded' to each other, solid in their beliefs, and united in their mission. When we live like that, there is no stopping this Jesus Revolution within! Just sayin!