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February 25, 2021
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Having warned his followers of his impending departure and their inability to follow him beyond this point, Jesus gives them a new commandment: to love one another. But in what sense is this command new? God had already instructed his people: Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19.18). So this command is not new in the sense that nothing like it had ever been said before. Rather, what is new is the standard of love to which Jesus calls us. It is one thing to love your neighbor as yourself. It is another to love one another as Jesus has loved us. This love far exceeds sentimentality. To love like this is to love one another in radically selfless and sacrificial ways. Jesus thus calls us to embody a whole new order of love which exemplifies the new world which Jesus brings into existence. This kind of love is meant to be the distinguishing mark of all Christians. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In what practical ways can we love one another as Jesus has loved us?