Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another.  How should we understand that command? What should it mean to us?  Let’s first look at Jesus’ words in context to understand better what His commandment:

John 13:33-35  “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

First, note that Jesus was speaking to His disciples.  To His 11  faithful disciples (Judas was already gone), He commanded, “Love one another.”  Understand that He was not commanding them to love everyone they met — at least not with the kind of love He was speaking about.  Jesus was saying that there was a union among the 11 and that their love would demonstrate their love for one another (John 13:35).  Their love would be a testimony to the world.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love others who are not as close as those in our inner circles.  Jesus’ law is the Royal Law of loving your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8) — and that does mean everyone, even those who might not be very lovable.  But don’t miss the importance of Jesus’ commandment that He gave in the Upper Room only hours before His arrest.

Familial Love

In John 13, Jesus talks about a union of love among the disciples because they will be spiritually united in God’s family and with Him. When Jesus speaks those words, He knows He is headed to the cross to pay for the sins of the world. He knows His death on the cross will open the way to the Father through faith in Him. And He knows He will send the Holy Spirit to indwell all who come to Him in faith.  

It is the Holy Spirit who unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ.  He is the love of the Father and the Son, “shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom 5:5).  And He is the indwelling power of the resurrection to enable us to love others (2 Tim 1:7) — even those who seem very unlovable — and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Family of God

Gal 6:10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Paul stressed the importance of loving and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Jesus said, this will demonstrate to the world that we belong to Him. God wants a holy communion—a fellowship, a set-apart-from-the-world communion—in His family.

Brokenness in Biblical Families

Family love was not always present in biblical families. All too often, greed, selfishness, envy, and jealousy led to sinful actions for personal gain. 

  • Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for his disobedience.
  • Cain murdered Abel. 
  • Jacob deceived and cheated Esaus. 
  • Joseph’s brothers envied and hated him so much that they sold him for 20 shekels and then lied to their father about his demise. 
  • King Saul attempted to murder his son Jonathan.
  • Absalom rebelled against his father, King David.
  • The prodigal son’s older brother was jealous of the father’s joy when his brother returned.

And it wasn’t just the men that didn’t love. 

  • Sara despised Haggar for the child she had given Abraham. 
  • Tamar deceived Judah for personal gain. 
  • Leah plotted to get Jacob for her husband.
  • Rachel was jealous of Leah and the children she bore.
  • Gomer cheated on her husband, Hosea.

And the list goes on and on.  Within the family of God, there has been–and still is–disunity and disfunction.

Love Unites

It’s no wonder that Jesus was very specific about the kind of love He commanded for the family of God.  Left to our own devices, we wander into worldly and fleshly desires that are self-serving and often sinful.  Only by loving Jesus, surrendering to His Spirit (whose “job” it is to teach and guide us), reading the Bible (i.e., growing in the knowledge of God’s will and ways), and praying (communing with the Godhead)– only then, will we be able to demonstrate that we belong to Jesus by loving one another.  

The love we have for one another in the family of God will “spill” over to loving those outside the family. By loving them, we can demonstrate the love of the Saviour. And always remember, Jesus loves them also, and He desires that they come to Him in faith.  


Love your brothers and sisters in Christ with the love you have been given and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Such love will grow fellowship and faithfulness within the family of God. Love other people, too—and love them enough to tell them about the love and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s family is an ever-growing family. Do your part to tell others how they can become a part of the family.


7 Key Takeaways

  1. Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another, which would demonstrate their unity and testify to the world that they were His disciples. 
  2. Paul stressed the importance of serving and loving one another in the family of God (Gal 6:10).
  3. The Holy Spirit unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should love and serve one another to show that we belong to Jesus. 
  4. We must also love our neighbors as ourselves, including those who may be difficult to love.
  5. To demonstrate our love for one another, we need to surrender to the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, and pray. 
  6. Loving one another in the family of God fosters fellowship and faithfulness. 
  7. By loving others, we can demonstrate the love of the Saviour and invite them to become part of God’s ever-growing family. 


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A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

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There is much to be learned from those who have gone before us in the faith.  Check out our Cloud of Witnesses category that features the words of departed saints who are now with the Lord in glory.  Their words equip and encourage us even to this day.  Take a few minutes to hear...

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  3. Prayers from Billy Graham
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  8. 24 Reasons Why I Love America, by John Wayne (1907-1979)
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  10. Abide with Me, by James Smith, 1859

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