Posted April 21, 2016
Is it really that simple? One little commandment Jesus gives us. Throughout all the Scriptures, Jesus reminds his disciples that he did not come to change the law that they had been accustomed to throughout their heritage. He reminded the people to be faithful to the commandments given to Moses.
Later in his ministry, he answers a scholar of the law about which one of the commandments is the greatest. He tells him to love God with all your heart, with your mind, and all your strength. He goes on to say this is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole Law and the Prophets are summed up in these two” That is to say that all the laws of Moses and all the prophets spoke about regarding care for the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers relay came down to the two commands; love God, love your neighbor.
But now, here in John’s Gospel today we hear Jesus give us a new commandment; “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” Notice he says this is a new commandment, not ANOTHER commandment. Jesus’ new command is simply to love one another. This is how we will show God that we are truly disciples, that our love for God is real. The command is simple; love one another.
It is Jesus’ qualifying statement that poses the challenge to us: “As I loved you, so you also should love one another.” To love as Jesus loves takes great understanding, discipline, compassion, and mercy. Jesus does not make demands; he asks only that we believe in him. He does not force us to say why we do the things we do, just earnestly seek His forgiveness and it is granted.
Jesus does not reserve His love to a select few, but to all of God’s children. The command is simple; but the practice is more difficult for us. Perhaps in our daily prayer we could ask for the grace to be more like Jesus to our neighbors. Then, the new commandment will become a way of life for us and God will indeed be glorified by our actions!
Deacon Tim Crooker