There are four observations worth noting in this commandment of love: First, love we are told here, isn't about feeling. Love entails a relationship which goes beyond the realm of feelings and emotions. Though emotions are involved, at its heart, love is a decision to seek the good of others. Loving as Jesus does means offering what is the most loving thing you can do for a particular person in a particular moment. A true lover gives the best he can offer and is willing to sacrifice everything he has for the beloved. Jesus gave his very life for us so that we have everlasting life with the Father. Sometimes, laying down our lives as Jesus does entails nothing more than to help someone who is handicapped, to take the time to visit the sick, or to offer comfort to someone who is in grief.
Second, Jesus is seeking intimate friendship with us, but He gives condition for his friendship. Friendship with Jesus is not a casual relationship. It demands "abiding," being loyal and obedient. We just can't love another without some surrender of our will.
Third, Jesus is accepting us as his friends, not as his slaves. A slave is expected to do what his master instructs him to do, whether or not he likes it, and whether or not he understands why he is commanded to do it. But as Jesus' friends, we share a mutual trust and affection with him. As we become Jesus' friends, he will disclose his plans and purposes to us. He will share his thinking, his goals, and his motivations for doing things. We will come to know his heart and mind. We will experience a greater degree of insight into the Scriptures. We will hear the voice of God more clearly. Our thoughts will become more like his thoughts. We will carry out his purposes on earth as they are in heaven.
Fourth, Jesus wants us to love one another just as he loves us, whole-heartedly and without reserve. His love fills our hearts and transforms our minds and frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others. If we open our hearts to his love and obey his command to love our neighbor, then we will bear much fruit in our lives, fruit that will last for eternity.
During this Easter season, let us develop our friendship with Jesus, from casual to intimate so that we may become like Jesus willing to be put out for others, desirous to bear fruit that is pleasing to our loving Father.