God has a great goal and vision for fellowship. It is one of the two big things Jesus expects from us. Fellowship comes out of our love for one another. Fellowship is all about love.
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
John 13:34 (CSB)
The word love is used only twelve times in John 1–12, but in John 13–21 it is used forty-four times! It is a key word in the Messiahs farewell sermon to His disciples, as well as a burden in His High Priestly Prayer. The word new does not mean “new in time,” because love has been important to God’s people even from Old Testament times. It means “new in experience, fresh.” It is the opposite of “worn out.” Love would take on a new meaning and power because of the death of Jesus on the cross. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, love would have a new power in their lives.
This section in John begins and ends with love: Jesus’ love for His own and the disciples’ love for one another. It is love that is the true evidence that we belong to Jesus the Messiah. The church leader Tertullian (A.D. 155–220) quoted the pagans as saying of the followers of Jesus, “See how they love one another?”
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 (ESV)
And how do we evidence that love? By doing what Jesus did: laying down our lives for the brethren. And the way to start is by getting down and washing one another’s feet in sacrificial service.
Let us dig deeper:
- 1 John 4:10–12 (CSB) — 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.
- John 15:12 (CSB) — 12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.
- Ephesians 5:1–2 (CSB) — 1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, 2 and walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
- 1 John 3:10 (CSB) — 10 This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.