Despite what romantics say, love is not blind. Attraction may obscure others’ flaws, but genuine mature love recognizes all shortcomings and understands and accepts others as they are.

Jesus calls his followers to love, but Jesus speaks neither in a vacuum nor as a professor teaching doctrine. Consider the context: Jesus has just dismissed Judas. Not only does he instruct Judas to leave; he requests that Judas betray him quickly. Only after Judas is gone does Jesus turn back to the others and call them to live a deeper love. As he teaches this love, his attention does not drift back to the one who just left: the one who followed him, ate with the five thousand, and saw Lazarus come forth; the one who has just set into motion the greatest act of love the world has ever known.

What is this love so profound that Jesus calls it a new commandment? This love is more than warm feelings. It weathers the times when love cannot be felt, when only faith can overcome disappointment and hurt. It triumphs over hurt and loss and is given freely when there may be no immediate return.

Later in this teaching, when Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13), he offers not theory or fantastic notion but a hint at what is coming in a matter of hours.

This love forgives from the cross; it is not worn around the neck as an emblem of faith, but comes bearing blood as proof.

Jesus calls us all to this kind of love. It grows within us through the divine power of the Holy Spirit as we walk with God.

Lord, help me to know that I can do all things through you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 13:31-35

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Lectionary Week
May 13–19, 2019
Scripture Overview

Change can be difficult. It is easy to get comfortable with what is familiar. In Acts, some in Jerusalem criticize Peter for having fellowship with the Gentiles. Peter explains that his actions are not his own idea but are inspired by a vision from God. This change leads to the spread of the gospel. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. God cares for the earth that God created, but at the end of time everything will be changed and made better. Jesus tells his disciples in John a new commandment, namely that they should love one another. This is how others will know that they are truly Jesus’ disciples. Psalm 148 is not about change but is pure praise for the works of the Lord.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 11:1-18. God calls Peter to initiate change. How do you respond to changes in your church’s culture? How do you discern what changes are from God?
Read Psalm 148. The next time you sing, focus on praising God and sharing God’s love through your words and melody.
Read Revelation 21:1-6. How do you live a full life in the waiting for the new heaven and new earth?
Read John 13:31-35. In the wake of betrayal, Jesus calls his followers to sacrificial love. When have you needed to heed the call to this type of love?

Respond by posting a prayer.