“We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:9)
As John continues to give us reasons we must love, he writes that anyone who has been loved by God, or by the Holy Spirit of the risen Christ, should have a passion to reciprocate that love.
John was present when Jesus spent the last hours before His crucifixion with the men He had apprenticed 24/7 for three years. The Gospel of John (chapters 13-16) begins this discourse of Jesus by telling us that “Having loved His own… He now showed them the full extent of His love.”
For three years Jesus had loved these men in ways they had never been loved before. They were all present with Him because they desperately wanted to reciprocate His love. Jesus challenged them to love one another as He had loved them. Then He added these words: “By this the world will know that you are my disciples.”
I’m convinced these men were with Him at His hour of great danger when Rome was closing in on Him because Jesus loved them and they loved Jesus. I also believe the thought of loving each other as Jesus had loved them had never occurred to them. It was their passion to reciprocate the love of Jesus that placed them with Jesus at this time. Essentially, Jesus told them the best way to reciprocate His love was to love one another.
John makes this his ninth reason we must love. The Apostle of Love has now given you nine exhortations to love. Are you willing to step up and reciprocate the way Jesus has loved you by loving others as He has loved you?