“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:13-14)
On the night of the Last Supper Jesus instituted the new covenant based on a new commandment. It was not written on tablets of stone as were the 10 commandments but on the heart, on the inner being of those called to be disciples. It was a covenant based on love. Now love is not merely a feeling or an emotion but an act of the will. The example Jesus gives us of true love may surprise those who are rooted in our culture’s definition of love which is self-centered, physical, romantic and emotional. Real love, the love of Jesus is self-sacrificing. He sacrificed His life for those He loves. This then is what love means, sacrificing our life, our time, talents and treasures for all others including God.
Jesus also tells His disciples (which includes us), that we are no longer mere servants, but friends. This does not mean we are His equals in terms of authority and power but that we are partners, co-workers in the ministry of salvation. We are His friends if we follow His command to love one another. We are His friends as we are commissioned to go into the entire world and preach the gospel. Part of the fruit we are to bear involves witnessing to others about the love of Christ but it goes further. Love means performing deeds of righteousness, compassion and mercy for those who are undeserving and sinful, because that is what He did for us.