17 I command you this thing: That you should love one another.
18 If the world hates you, you know that it first of all hated Me.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own, but you do not belong to the world. Instead I have called you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
I once heard it said that a baby needs to hear a word about 600 times before it recognizes it and repeats it. I imagine that it is different for each child. However, it does show that our brains need repetition in order to learn things.
I grew up in the era of learning by rote (constant repetition). We learnt our times tables by constantly saying them. This was a part of our education, and the times tables (up to twelve) have remained with me.
Jesus repeated things to His disciples; we see this in verse 17 where Jesus repeats His command that they should love one another. It is a command that we all need to constantly hear. There is perhaps no doubt that we are all aware of His command for us to love one another. Yet at the same time we are all aware that our obedience to His command is not always something that we comply with.
In loving one another we are apt to miss the mark. There are times when we fail to love one another, or we love some more than others.
It is interesting to note that the context of Jesus repeating the command to love one another is that of the world hating them.
They were about to enter a time where they would face severe opposition from the world, and from the religious leaders. In such times it was going to be essential for them to know the love they had for one another.
The hatred that they were going to face from the world would be bearable by knowing that they had the love and support of one another.
How good are we at loving our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Do we daily seek to obey the command of Jesus to love one another?
We have the assurance that Jesus loves us, and always will. It is also important for us to know that we love our brothers and sisters, and that we are loved by them.
In the hostile environment of the world’s hatred we need to know that we are loved by one another.