A new commandment: Love
Another New Year miniblog for you - today is the 'new commandment' that Jesus gives to us, to love one another. Let's pray that this year, we might be able to love others like Jesus does. Lx
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)
These words of Jesus are so simple; there is no mistaking their meaning. We are called to love one another, and this is described as a commandment that Jesus is giving us. In other words, it is not something that is optional, if we are living as Jesus’ disciples, but is a characteristic of life in him.
We see the immensity of God’s love and faithfulness most visibly demonstrated in the person of Jesus, God’s son. First he left all the glory of heaven and came to earth as a human baby. Living amongst everyday people, he endured hardship, misunderstanding and suffering: ‘and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’
There was no limit to the love of Jesus or any end to his mercies as he gave up his life for us, bearing the awful punishment that should have been ours for all the wrong-doing we have done, in order that we might know the forgiveness of God, his love in our lives now and a life of perfect love and joy with him in eternity.
If we are born into God’s family through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are now also to share in demonstrating the family likeness: love. The new commandment that he gives us is to characterise our lives: ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’, Jesus went on to say.
The new way we are to live is the way of love. Paul explains in very practical and easily understood ways what it means to live a life of love:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5)
Love is about an attitude towards others, based not on how we might feel instinctively, but on how we choose to see ourselves, and them, in the light of God’s love – each and every one of us, loved by God and precious in his sight.
Father, thank you for the new life that we have in Jesus. Thank you that the commandment he gives us is so good – to love one another. Please help me today to remember that I am loved by you, and that you love those around me. Help me to love them too. Amen.
Margaret is the mother of our regular contributor, Emma. She lives in Cambridge and is a member of Christ Church. She teaches English in one of the Cambridge schools.