Saturday, March 15, 2014
March 15: A new command
“I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another. (John 13:34,35 NET)
Jesus was about to go to the cross when He spoke these words, which makes sense because it was love that drove Him to His sacrifice. Like John 3:16 says, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” The Father’s love drove Him to give up His Son, and Jesus’ love drove Him to the cross for us.
The love that Jesus had was not, and is not, an emotional, heart-based love. His love was the type that made Him go to the cross and sacrifice Himself for us even though His flesh did not want to go through the scourging, the nails, the humiliation, and the sin He would have to carry. True love is not a feeling, it is a commitment. True love loves when people are unlovable, because it’s the right thing to do. When God loves us, He does so not because we are beautiful and deserving, but because He sees what we can become with some help.
This very same love characterizes a true child of God—he will sacrifice to help the lost, he will do what his flesh does not want to do because he knows it’s the right thing to do. One way the world can see Jesus in us is by the love that we have for each other. Love is not proud or selfish, and it doesn’t keep a record of other people’s wrongs.
This love that we are commanded to have does not depend on a person's character or behavior. We’re commanded to love even those who consider themselves our enemies, and God gives us the power to do this when we ask Him. Love is to be a mark of a true disciples of the Lord Jesus.