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Did Jesus Issue a New Commandment? (Y1.T2.D49)


Unsplash; "John Tyson"

 

Yes, he did.


Jesus was clear that he didn't come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). However, as his departure drew near, he said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another" (John 13:34).


At first glance, this commandment doesn't feel new. God always intended for his followers to love each other. Since the earth's creation, God established rules for people to live successfully in community. And as much as he did not want people to kill before he ever commanded it, the same is true in this instance about loving him, their neighbor, and each other.


So if loving members of the global church is implied, why did Jesus feel the need to proclaim it as a command?


Personally, I think it's because he knew he was about to leave them. He knew that they were about to go through great trials and tribulations. He knew they would need each other.


This message wasn't only for them. We—the global body of believers—need each other.


Another reason Jesus might have made this new command was to address the divisions he knew the enemy would try to put between believers (which we will cover in a future post). It's much easier to encourage love among the people of God when it becomes a directive.


So as we read the context in which Jesus issued this new commandment, let's ask ourselves what we can do to obey our Lord.


Community Is Important


Matthew 26:31a, Mark 14:27a


1 “In that day there will be a spring opened to David’s house and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 2 It will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they will be remembered no more. I will also cause the prophets and the spirit of impurity to pass out of the land. 3 It will happen that, when anyone still prophesies, then his father and his mother who bore him will tell him, ‘You must die, because you speak lies in Yahweh’s name;’ and his father and his mother who bore him will stab him when he prophesies. 4 It will happen in that day, that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision, when he prophesies; neither will they wear a hairy mantle to deceive: 5 but he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondservant from my youth.’ 6 One will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’


7a “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,

and against the man who is close to me,” (Zechariah13:1–7a)

Zechariah13:7b, Matthew 26:31b, Mark 14:27b


31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately. 33 Little children, I will be with you a little while longer. You will seek me, and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you can’t come,’ so now I tell you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:31–35)


27 For who is greater, one who sits at the table, or one who serves? Isn’t it he who sits at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 But you are those who have continued with me in my trials. 29 I confer on you a kingdom, even as my Father conferred on me, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. You will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:24–30)

Matthew 26:32, Mark 14:28


31 The Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have all of you, that he might sift you as wheat, 32 but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn’t fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)


36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?”


Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you can’t follow now, but you will follow afterwards.” (John 13:36)

Matthew 26:33a, Mark 14:29a, Luke 22:33a, John 13:37a


37b I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:37a)


33b “Even if all will be made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matthew 26:33b)


29b “Although all will be offended, yet I will not.” (Mark 14:29b)


33b “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!” (Luke 22:33a)

Matthew 26:34, Mark 14:30, Luke 22:34, John 13:38


Matthew 26:35, Mark 14:31


35 He said to them, “When I sent you out without purse, wallet, and sandals, did you lack anything?”


They said, “Nothing.”


36 Then he said to them, “But now, whoever has a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet. Whoever has none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword. 37 For I tell you that this which is written must still be fulfilled in me: ‘He was counted with transgressors.’ For that which concerns me has an end.”


38 They said, “Lord, behold, here are two swords.”


He said to them, “That is enough.” (Luke 22:35–38)

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


Thank You for seeing my need for community and establishing the global body of believers. You have put all things in subjection to You, including all things for the assembly—which is Your body of believers—to the fullness of Christ who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22–23). Within this community, help me be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving as You have forgiven me (Ephesians 4:32). I want to be the kind of friend who provokes others to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).


Amen.


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