Acts 14:21-27, Psalm 145, Revelation 21:1-4
GOSPEL: John 33-35:
I tell you just as I told the people, “You cannot go where I am going. But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
The Gospel today comes from a section of John’s Gospel known as the ‘farewell discourse’ delivered by Jesus just prior to his arrest. Jesus knew that his time had come, and that he would suffer and die before rising from the dead and returning to his father in heaven. Time had grown short for those who had not yet recognised Jesus as the Messiah. He is focused on giving instruction to those who believed, on how they are to continue his mission after he is gone. Jesus is telling his disciples not just that they must love one another, but that they must love as he had loved. The love that Jesus showed was unconditional and self-giving, expressed in service and fulfilled by the ultimate sacrifice of his death on the cross. It is this love which reveals the total love of a God who is Love. And it is this love that is the true mark of Christian discipleship.