Daily Reading for May 2 • The Fifth Sunday of Easter
He plainly indicates the novelty involved in his command here—and the extent to which the love he enjoins here surpasses the old idea of mutual love—by adding the words “Even as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” . . .
The law of Moses mandated the necessity of loving our brothers as ourselves, yet our Lord Jesus the Christ loved us far more than he loved himself. Otherwise, he would have never descended to our humiliation from his original exaltation in the form of God and on an equality with God the Father, nor would he have undergone for our sakes the exceptional bitterness of his death in the flesh, nor have submitted to beatings, to shame, to derision, and all his other sufferings too numerous to mention. Being rich, he would never have become poor if he had not loved us far more than he loved himself. It was indeed something new for love to go as far as that!
Christ commands us to love as he did, putting neither reputation, wealth or anything else before love of our brothers and sisters. If need be, we even need to be prepared to face death for our neighbor’s salvation as our Savior’s blessed disciples did, as well as those who followed in their footsteps. To them the salvation of others mattered more than their own lives, and they were ready to do anything or to suffer anything to save souls that were perishing.
From Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb, John 11-21, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2007).