"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34 NIV
God is love. It then follows that Jesus as the second person of the Trinity became the embodiment of that love in human form. We see this demonstrated throughout his ministry in his teaching and miracles. At times he became frustrated by the religious authorities, but his frustration was because he loved them. Even on the cross in his love, he prayed for forgiveness for his persecutors.
Shortly before this verse, we again witness his love washing the disciples' feet. He follows up this humble act with his "new' command. By new, he meant renewal, or as a reminder, not as in something different. It was the culmination of the "Law and the Prophets." (Mt 22:40)
In addition to telling us that we must love each other, he gives us the reason, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples." (v. 35). That love of Christ that lives within us through the Holy Spirit sets us apart. When we show empathy, compassion, and caring for each other, we exhibit God's love, and when like Jesus, we love even our enemies.
Almighty and compassionate God, we thank you for your love! You continually shower us with your grace. We admit we have failed to love each other as we should; forgive us, we pray. Help us mend those wounds that separate us as your body. Let every word we say and every action we take be a shining example to others of your love. May they know we are your disciples through our love. In Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.