(April 9, 2020)
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The one time that Jesus calls something “new” in John’s Gospel – is right here. A “new command” I give you: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.
…Why does Jesus call this “new?” There are many times in the Old Testament in which we are commanded to love. For example, Deuteronomy 6: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Or Leviticus 19: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
But here Jesus is telling us that it is “new.” …Why do you think that is?
Here is just one piece of the puzzle: Jesus is forming a New Community that is rooted in Him. He is the Source of the Love. He is the Cause of the Love. Dale Bruner translates the sentence: Keep loving one another from my heart of love for you. His love is the well from which our love springs forth.
“Love other Christians.” That’s what Jesus wants us to do. Christians love other Christians. It might sound inwardly-focused — yet, this is how the whole world will know. “Love one another… by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Isn’t that beautiful?
If you want other people to know Jesus – then do this by loving the Church. Maybe this is not what we would have expected, but then again it is the New Commandment.
Express gratitude for the church. Give thanks. Keep on loving one another. Rejoice in each other’s God-given gifts and call. Rejoice even when your first instinct may be to critique. Sometimes we can have the tendency to be more impatient with another Christian than an unbeliever. Yet, as Cyprian said: “No one can love the Head and hate the Body.” Or as Calvin put it: “No one can have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his Mother.”
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Go celebrate Maundy Thursday by cherishing and rejoicing over – by Loving another Christian. It is Jesus’ Command. And it is “New.”