“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35
The commandments given by God to Moses became part of the lifestyle of the people of Israel. They endeavoured, to the best of their ability, to keep these commandments. Many were careful to the extreme to keep the commandments of God.
Then Jesus startles everyone with His statement of a “new commandment”.
The people Jesus was speaking to were all very much aware of all the commandments that they were expected to keep, but Jesus thrusts a new commandment upon them and us.
We are to love one another He says, even as He has loved us. This is a radical departure from the strictness of the rules that the Jewish people had become accustomed to. The Old Testament pattern of worship was based mainly on a series of laws and conditions, and when broken there were special rules that had to be followed to receive pardon. No matter how a person tried there was no one who could completely fulfil the Law of God.
But when Jesus came He fulfilled the Law in the finest detail when he went to the cross and opened the way for a new, free and loving way to serve God.
No longer were people required to keep an arduous string of rules and regulations. There were no longer daily sacrifices of animals. Christ, as the perfect Lamb of God, made a onetime sacrifice for all of humanities’ sin.
All we do is to step into this wonderful gift of salvation. Acceptance of Christ places us into a new kingdom where love rules and not a harsh and strict set of laws.
We serve God because we love Him as well as our brothers and sisters and we love the lost.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love that is measureless. Help me today to demonstrate Your love in my actions as a true Christian and Your disciple.