Today we’ll read Deuteronomy chapter 6, John 13 and Psalm 52, from the Good News Translation.
May God bless the reading of His Word.
Remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was? Do you remember His answer? He quoted from Deuteronomy 6, which we also read today: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Did you notice the new commandment that Jesus gave the disciples in John 13 today? He said,”And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
How is this different than “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”? It is different in a very fundamental way. When Jesus gave this new commandment, He said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” So how did He love them? He loved them not as He loved Himself, but more than He loved Himself. We are to love each other more than we love our own selves. We are to love sacrificially, forgivingly, patiently, and every other way He loves us.
This takes love to a whole new level, because honestly, sometimes I don’t love myself very much. So setting the bar at loving my neighbor as I love myself is not putting it very high. But loving more than I love myself is.
And that could be a very difficult task indeed, if not for the way Jesus changed the words. Instead of love your neighbor, he said love each other. See, if I love my neighbor, and he continues to be a nincompoop to me, then it’s hard to keep doing it. If I love him as Christ loves me, and he’s a nincompoop, it’s humanly impossible. But if we love each other as Christ loves us, then the command is much easier. If we treat each other as more important than ourselves, then the love of God will be evident to all around, because that kind of love just doesn’t happen outside of God’s love. And that’s why Jesus said, “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciple.”
Well, I took longer that I had planned with that explanation. I’d better let you go until tomorrow. Thanks for joining me today. I’m glad you’ve joined me this time through God’s Word.
Until tomorrow, may God bless you richly. I’m Steve Webb.