"Let brotherly love continue."
God’s people, Israel, had been under the command to love others ever since the Law had been recorded for them to follow. The Israelite was duty bound to show himself loving to his neighbor.
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18).
Jesus reminded them of this Law as He taught them (Matthew 19:19; 22:39).
The Jewish nation was never known for their love, they were known for their outward ceremony, sacrifices, differences in diet and dress, but never for the characteristic of love. Others have been known for various things, but no group of people had ever been identified for this quality of love. Until Jesus came!
Jesus taught His disciples that His people will be known in the lost world for one characteristic above all others—their LOVE for each other.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).
What was new about Jesus commandment was this, their love for each other was their badge of discipleship. The proof of their knowing Jesus was how they treated Jesus’ followers. It wasn’t their considerable knowledge, wealth, prestige, or their power, it was their love for the brethren that set them apart from all other peoples and religions.
“Let brotherly love.”1
The apostles picked up on Jesus’ words and challenged believers to obey the command.
“We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (1 John 3:14).
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22).
The Word assures us that love is going to continue in God’s plan,
“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we need to be sure that “brotherly love” continues through us. Each one of us needs to make a difference in the world, by our love for God’s children, our brothers, and sisters in Christ.