The commandment of God that his people are to love one another is not new. Everyone was familiar with Leviticus 19:17-18. Continue reading . . .
The commandment of God that his people are to love one another is not new. Everyone was familiar with Leviticus 19:17-18. There God spoke to the children of Israel and said:
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:17-18).
So what did Jesus mean when he said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34)?
Clearly the “newness” of the command to love isn’t in the command itself. It is instead in the pattern or standard or model of our love for one another. It is the “way” in which we are to love that is different due to the coming of Jesus Christ. Never in the history of mankind had God appeared in human flesh and demonstrated his love for sinful and broken people by sacrificing himself on a cross so that they might live forever. Love may well have been required prior to the coming of Christ. But love to the degree and in the same fashion as was seen in the self-sacrifice of Jesus for his church is altogether new. Quite simply it has changed loving forever.
So the place where we need to begin is with the question: How did Jesus love his disciples? In what ways is his love for us made manifest? We must answer this question if the pattern or model of our love for one another is Jesus’s love for his people. Here is a handful of answers.
First, he loves his own by spending time with them.