A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Look for a moment, by way of recall, at three or four characteristics of that love which Christ showed to His disciples. In the first place, love was the principle of His life. Some men are like Western farmers who have their one hundred and sixty acres, and put one hundred and fifty-nine and a half acres in hay and grain and grass for the cattle, and half an acre around the door is a garden and grass-plot, and a fraction of that the wife cultivates in flowers. So men give the larger part of their life to self or justice or righteousness or fair-dealing, and they cultivate a little plot with flowers which they call love (and generally they are very like the Western farmers in that they leave the wife to raise all the flowers). know, love was not thus a mere incident of Christ's life. It was the essence of His life. He lived for love. Love was the inspiration of His life. It was a wise love, not a mere sentiment, not a mere blind enthusiasm. It was well considered. He measured men and adapted His gifts to their capacities. Christ's love was not either a mere sentimental love. It was not a love that cannot bear to look upon suffering, or that intervenes to stop all suffering. It was not a love that could not rebuke and reprove. There was flash in the eyes of His love, and there was thunder, sometimes, in the tones of His love. He loved, too, with infinite patience and long-suffering. He loved not only with benevolence — that is, well wishing to all men, and with pity — that is, with love to those that are in suffering, but with mercy — that is, love to those who do not deserve love. He loved when love and conscience seemed to antagonize each other. Impossible I do you say? Well, then, let us say frankly it is impossible to be a Christian. Impossible? Then impossible to follow Christ. Not human nature? No, it is not human nature. It is Divine nature: and that is the very object of Christianity — to confer upon all who will be the disciples of Christ a Divine nature, not a mere human nature; that they may be lifted up out of the plane of the human, and walk in the plane and atmosphere of the Divine ever more.
(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.