In John 13:34–35 (NIV), Jesus said to His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We’ve all had times in our lives when we have been hurt, perhaps by someone we know very well or someone we know just casually, and we find loving that person to be very difficult. Hurtful and trying experiences that cause much pain are part of life—even Jesus experienced them. What is important is how we respond in those times, for that determines the growth that will or will not occur in our lives. In seeing Jesus’ response, we can gain the strength and grace to do the same and come one step closer to mirroring Him.
Imagine the topic of conversation among the disciples after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. I’m sure their minds strained to remember each event and how it related to what came to pass, recalling their times with the Lord, the days leading up to the crucifixion and the dramatic and prophetic unfolding of every moment.
Perhaps they recalled their own Judas, remembering how he left right in the middle of the Last Supper. By this time, the disciples knew that Judas was the one who had betrayed the Lord and that he had hung himself from the guilt of it. I can just hear one of the disciples saying, “I can’t believe Jesus didn’t just throw Judas out from the start! He had to have known all along that he was stealing money. And certainly He knew that Judas was the one who would betray Him in the end. Why did He let him stick around? At least Jesus could have told us that he was the one who was going to betray Him, so that we would have known to stay away from him.”