A New Commandment
23 March 2015
Reading: John 13; Psalm 69
34 "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)
These were among the last words Jesus spoke to his closest followers before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Jesus knew the time was short. Every word he spoke was a very important word. And of all the important words that remained to be spoken, he chose to tell them to love each other like he loved them.
He gave them a new commandment, but it was the same thing he had been trying to get them to understand all the time he was with them. It’s pretty much the same thing he’s been trying to get me to understand all my life as Christ-follower. Jesus didn’t say, “Learn to tolerate each other. Learn to put up with each other in spite of your differences.” He said, “Love each other the way I have loved you!”
Here’s how Jesus loved them (and us):
• Jesus loved them when they “got it” and when they missed it.
• Jesus loved them enough to take off the master’s robe and wear a servant’s apron.
• Jesus loved them enough to lay down his own life for their lives.
• Jesus loved them with the unconditional love of God – Abba’s Father-love.
Jesus said that if they really loved each other in the same way he loved them, everyone around them would know “who” they were and “whose” they were.
So I sat here this morning and thought, “How much of my time, energy, and effort goes into simply loving my fellow Christ-followers like Jesus loves me?” How much of my life is about doing things or getting things or experiencing things and how much of my life is about simply loving other people like Jesus loves me?
Father, The message in this is clear and simple. Doing it requires faith, wisdom, and effort. First, please keep changing and growing my heart more like yours. Next, show me how to work it out in my activities, schedule, and priorities. I want to do better at obeying this simple command. Please help me to love others like you love me. Amen.