The most important command of Jesus in the book of Saint John the apostle is to love thy neighbor
Among the synoptic Gospels, the 21 chapters of the book of John have the most schematic account of the ministry of Jesus. It may have been written at Ephesus around 100 AD, intended for Christians with Hellenistic backgrounds.
Critical sections of John’s gospel
John gives a broad account of Jesus’ ministry from chapters 1 to 21. Critical sections would be Jesus describing Himself as the vine and how we can bear fruit. As well as signs, His glory, Jesus’ final night, the passion and resurrection.
The Book of John tell us how to “bear fruit”
In John chapter 15, Jesus said that if we remain in Him, the “true vine,” we will bear fruit. These fruits are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-control.
- John 15:5 “Remain in me and you will bear much fruit”
- John 15:10 “Keepy my commands to remain in my love”
- John 15:12 “My command: Love each other as I loved you.”
How do we bear fruit?
We bear fruits when we remain in Jesus. To remain in Christ means we have to keep His command (v10). Hence, He gave a NEW command: “Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you” (John 15:12; Matthew 5:54)
Love thy neighbor
When Jesus told Nicodemus to “love thy neighbor,” (Mark 12:31, plésion, πλησίον) the word also referred to other men (countrymen) or foreigners we come across. Jesus’ allusion to the Samaritan woman in Luke 10:25 is clear.
To embrace the Samaritans as brothers was a difficult thing, even for the apostles. The Jews hated their Samaritan neighbors. They lost their identity as God’s chosen people after the Assyrians captured them in 722 A.D.
As “purebred” chosen people, no Jew will associate with them. Jesus demonstrated love by spending time and talking to a Samaritan woman at the well, a no-no for the Jews of that time. Thus, to follow Christ meant to love others unconditionally.
To follow Christ meant to love others unconditionally.
A Christian bears the fruit of love
It is impossible to love the unlovable. We can’t do it on our own. The reason we must ask God is for the heart to love others. The problem, “… we do not ask God and do not receive because of wrong motives” (James 4:2-3).
Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me, and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have a love for one another.”