This was a new commandment in that the love was not because they all belonged to the same nation or all looked like each other, but because they belonged to Christ. This love was to be the expression of the love of Christ, which the disciples had seen in His life and would see also in death.
Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other the same way that He loved them. Those of us who have been born again and accepted Jesus as our Savior have become His disciples so we are to obey the same command and when we do everybody will know that we are His disciples.
What does the love that we are commanded to have for each other look like?
There are three major kinds of love identified by three Greek words; eros, phileo, and agape.
As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). While eros is important within a marriage relationship and is created by God, it can also be abused. God created our sexuality which makes it a good thing, but we need to recognize that Jesus was commanding something other than this particular form of love.
The second major kind of love is phileo the Greek word for friendship love.
Philia refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy.
This is love based on the worth of the one loved. It is a proper and valuable kind of love. Since phileo love involves feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we do not have phileo love toward our enemies.
This wasn't the kind of love that Jesus was commanding either.
The third major kind of love is agape. Agape is a self-denying love.
Agape is the most powerful, noblest type of love: sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. This is the kind of love that can be commanded and controlled or directed by the mind and will of the person who chooses to love.
This is the love that God has for His people and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins.
This is the kind of love that Jesus said that His disciples should have.
The Apostle Paul gives us a detailed and beautiful description of agape.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CEV Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.
When people see Christians they should see and know us by patience. They would know that we are Christians by our contentment, modesty, and humility. They would recognize us, for we would not be rude. We would seek the best for others, be difficult to make angry, and refuse to keep count of how many times we've been hurt. They would know us because evil makes us sad, and truth makes us happy. They would know us because we protect the defenseless and we do not live in suspicion of others. They would know us by our hope. They would know us by our perseverance.
However when many people hear the word Christian they think Patriotic. They think of rules. They think of stingy, bad-tippers, who blindly vote Republican and will judge you if you drink beer or use four-letter words.
That might not describe you, but it’s still your responsibility to change what the world thinks of Christians. It’s still your responsibility to demonstrate that radical love Paul described to the Corinthians.
Just as people in offices, factories, government, and the military wear badges to show that they belong there we Christians have a badge too. Our badge is love. Wear the badge of love proudly so that the world can see that you belong to Christ.