A New Commandment

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What’s new about the commandment to love each other? The key to the answers is found in the words in the second half of the verse: “. . . just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Loving each other is not a new command. It was already there in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”). What’s new is that Jesus is now set a pattern we live by and the power we live on. When Jesus says that the new commandment to love each other is a commandment to love as I have loved you, he draws attention not only to the pattern of love we follow, but the power to love that we need. Jesus is Our Pattern and Power: Jesus demonstrated this selfless, serving, steadfast, sacrificial, sanctifying, and unconditional love by washing His disciples’ feet, even those of the one who would betray Him. After performing that most menial of tasks, Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14–15). When Jesus presented His followers with the new commandment the night before He was crucified, it fits with everything else He had said and done. He exemplified the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7. Living with this kind of love was the new commandment Jesus gave to everyone who wants to be His disciple (Luke 9:23). The love He had poured into them they must now pour into each other if His message was to impact the world after He was gone. The love that Jesus Christ had and continues to have for His followers is infinitely more profound than the love expressed in “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Putting into practice His “as I have loved you” kind of love, Jesus Christ willingly paid the price for our sins. As He explained, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). The great cost of our sin was His suffering, torture, and horrific death. That is the self-sacrificial and redeeming love He showed for all mankind. Without that love, we would have no hope and no opportunity to live forever. There are two main doctrines in the Bible; to love God and to love people. When a lawyer and expert of the law asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, Jesus responded, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.” (See Matthew 22:36-40) When carefully considered, Jesus’ answer was really a perfect response not only to the religious people of His day but also to all modern- “religious people”. Jesus gives us two commandments that summarize all the laws and commands in Scripture. In other words, the entire Bible has been given to us to teach us about loving God and loving people.
Bishop Lalachan Abraham