Icon of the Apostle John
When the holy Evangelist John had lived to extreme old age in Ephesus, he could be carried only with difficulty by the hands of the disciples, and as he was not able to pronounce more words, he was accustomed to say at every assembly, “Little children, love one another.” At length the disciples and brethren who were present became tired of hearing always the same thing and said: “Master, why do you always say this?” Thereupon John gave an answer worthy of himself: “Because this is the commandment of the Lord, and if it is observed then is it enough.” —from Jerome’s Commentary on Galatians
I have loved this story for years. It is so in the character of John’s thought. Its simplicity walks right through tightly shut hearts just as the risen Christ bypassed walls and locked doors (John 20:19, 26).
We are too sophisticated for John’s five word sermon because we are too full of ourselves, too enamored with the wrong things. John’s words bring us to the stripped down core of God’s mind: Love. We grow tired of hearing it but it is the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:36-40).
*If* it is observed, then we’ve heard it enough.*If* it is observed, then it is enough, sufficient, all that is needed.
Jesus, You are the law written on our hearts. You are the commandment, and the fulfillment of the commandment within. We can only love as You loved us when You love as only You can love through us.