The New Commandment

When Jesus got up from washing his disciples' feet, he made the strange statement, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another." What makes that statement strange is not the command to love, but that Jesus calls the command new. There is nothing new about being commanded to love.

We are explicitly commanded to love in Leviticus: You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself (19:18) and implicitly commanded throughout the Old Testament. If love is something more than a feeling (which it must be because you can't command a feeling), then many of God's commands include the activities of love. Quite frequently God commands that widows, orphans, and aliens be cared for. We are even commanded to love aliens (Leviticus 19:34).

It is not new, then, that we are commanded to love. Maybe the new commandment was what came just after the demand that we love one another. Jesus said, "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (John 13:34).

Wow, Jesus. You ask plenty when you tell us to love. Now you want us to love as you have loved? That is new!

Read John 13:31-35 and think about what Jesus was commanding here. Don't protect yourself from the high calling. Don't "he couldn't possibly mean that" yourself out of it.

Maybe you need someone young enough to take Jesus at his word to help you accept that, yes, his command is to love as he loved and that he expects that of you.

Well, you're in luck. The youth are going to give it to you straight on Sunday. They have designed all three worship services around these verses and will lead our congregation well in worshiping God and hearing his message and call to love. Come and be led well by our faithful teens.