Jesus gave a new command to his followers, to love one another (Jn13v34).
Being commanded to do anything is unfamiliar to most of us. We live in a culture that prefers 'requests' that come with a 'please', and ideally an option to ask 'why?'
So being commanded to love someone can seem strange, if not absurd. We often see love as an emotion or preference, so being commanded to love others we don't know, or even like, messes with our heads. Perhaps the problem arises from our limited or narrow understanding of the word 'love'.
Jesus' concept of love is far broader than a strong emotion of affection or personal attachment; it's richer than a passionate desire for intimacy or closeness. It encompasses the unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.
The love Jesus commanded was to be more than a notion or feeling; it was to be a pattern of thought AND behaviour. The love He had in mind was to be tangibly outworked:
'Love is patience, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes. Love never fails.' 1Cor13:4-8
This kind of demonstrable love flows from a choice to obey Jesus (Jn14:15) but is sustained by another Counsellor, more on Him later.
A community choosing to obey Jesus and love one another proclaims to all that they follow Jesus.