A "NEW" Commandment..??
First things first... if you have a few moments, give John 13: a quick read through.
Perhaps I'm the only person like this, but, after 20 or so years of church attendance / bible reading / faith believing, it still SHOCKS me when I read familiar portions of scripture, only to discover something I've never considered before. Such as happened to me this morning when reading the above chapter - and specifically verses 31-35.
Vs 34, Jesus claims to be giving the disciples a "new" commandment, as he starts out by:
"love one another..."
Problem is, that's not new at all. In Leviticus:18, God had already instituted this command:
"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the .
Whoops Jesus.. might need to brush up on your Old Testament.
Of course, that's not the case. The "new" commandment is in understanding the rest of John 13:34
"love one another... AS I HAVE LOVED YOU... that you also love one another"
We oftentimes equate the gravity of this statement of Jesus' love as displayed in his sacrifice for us on the cross. And of course, it certainly is the pinnacle... a prominent display of God's unconditional, everlasting love for us; but don't jump away from John 13 too quickly.
Prior to this new commandment consider the events that lead up to Jesus' new commandment proclamation:
He washes the disciple' feet ~ displaying humility, servant hood, cleansing
He fellowships with (dining, teaching, etc) with his disciples, all the while knowing there is a betrayer (and soon to be denier) in his company.
To fulfill this new commandment; and love as Jesus loved.. it's not so much about the grand display of love, and more about the everyday opportunities to serve each other, put others first and forgive in the face of betrayal or disappointment. And the motivation to do so comes from God's "once and for all" self sacrificing display of love on the cross.
Do something new today... love someone.