I was listening to the radio yesterday and a man called in with a question about John 13:34 and 35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. "What does that love look like?" the caller asked.
Here is the essence of the radio host's response:
Man's natural attitude is for each of us to put ourselves above others. We look out for Number One; this is just how we are as humans. We try to get things from others to build ourselves up.
According to Old Testament law, we are commanded to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). If you have two coats and you see someone with no coat, you should give him one of your coats. This kind of love is admirable. It puts us and others on the same level, making sure we treat others as well as we want to be treated.
But Jesus took it a step further still. We are to love others as He loves us. His is a sacrificial love. He put us before Himself when He laid down His life for us. This love sacrifices for the sake of someone else, so that if you see someone with no coat and you yourself have one, you give your coat to him.
Paul described it like this: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves" (Romans 12:10). This kind of love is the evidence of the presence of Christ in the lives of His followers. We have been shown the ultimate love by Chris't sacrifice on the cross. Jesus said, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). In gratitude, and filled with the love of Christ, we love others.
This love does not come naturally! It's a radical, remarkable love; it's Jesus loving through His followers. And the world is hungry for this kind of love.