Jesus gives us a New Commandment
Today is Maunday Thursday. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34,
Jesus said, “A new commandment (mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus keeps things simple for his disciples. Love one another. If the disciples were to love one another they would have a tremendous impact on those around them. If they loved one another, then all men would see that they were disciples of Christ. So in the end their loving one another was not to glorify themselves but to glorify Christ.
Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Jesus was getting ready to suffer greatly and then to die. This is the kind of love that Jesus is talking about. Not a romantic, feel good love, but rather a sacrificial, suffering, dying to self, love. Jesus died so that we could live. We don’t see this kind of love lived out very often in our culture. We are naturally self protective. But Christ calls us to love differently.
How can we love this way? Isn’t this commandment a bit much? If I sacrifice all for the sake of others then I will have nothing. Not exactly. Christ has given us everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Peter 1:3 and following). Since Christ has given us all we need then we are free to go and meet the needs of others. The main need of others is that they hear, understand and embrace to gospel of grace. So, since we have everything we need we are free to go and love one another with the gospel.
When we live out this new commandment then others start to see the reality of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have nothing to lose when we love one another. If we choose not to love one another then others have a great deal to lose. Let us not hinder the advancement of the gospel by being selfish with our love for one another. Let’s be generous with our love for one another. Let’s be reminded that at the foundation of Christ’s commandment to love others is the cross. That cross tells us that we have been given all we need and therefore we are free to go and sacrificially love one another.
We have a chance to change our community for Christ. It starts with us loving one another…
All for Jesus,