What did Jesus ask us to do? Was it make ourselves better? Serve more, pray more, read our Bibles more? While all of these things are good, they’re not what Jesus asked us to do.
Did He ask us to follow a grueling discipleship program, or impose strict discipline on others? Jesus said that this one thing is more important than all offerings, all sacrifices, and all self-help efforts that you could possibly do throughout an entire lifetime.
What about healing the sick, raising the dead; doing the stuff Jesus did? He said that we would do all these things and more. But only when we are doing the one thing He asked us to do.
So what is the one thing that Jesus personally asks us to do 16 times in the gospels alone, and over 200 times throughout the New Testament?
He asks us to love. He commands us to love. And this love is no mean feat — this love will love God with every fiber of our body, soul and spirit. This love will love our fellow Christians when they don’t love us back. This love will love through accusation, persecution and personal violence. This love will genuinely love even an enemy. This love is the hallmark of a changed, redeemed Kingdom people.
This love is His love in us. It is so life-changing that it encompasses all personal growth and discipleship. It is so strong that it will carry us through every dark storm in our lives. It is so powerful that it will overcome — and prevail in the end. He commands us to love.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
[ Love for Enemies ] “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
This is my command: Love each other.