Have you ever seen a movie that was a remake of a classic? How about one of your favorite singers covering a well-known song? Each of those brings a fresh twist on something well known. When Jesus speaks to his disciples, he puts a fresh twist on a well-known commandment. You’ve heard of loving your neighbor as yourself, and now Jesus tells his followers to love each other as He has loved them.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
A New Commandment
When Jesus says a new commandment, He isn’t talking about a new revelation but instead a fresh take on something that has been around. Loving one wasn’t new. Jesus had summarized the last six commandments by saying, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Now he was telling his followers to love each other as He loved them. Charles Spurgeon summarizes it perfectly, “We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we are to love our fellow-Christians as Christ loved us, and that is far more than we love ourselves.” You are to love those in the church more than you love yourself.
The type of love that Jesus is talking about here is unconditional, not romantic or even brotherly. Unconditional love happens when we love the person no matter if they love us back. We are to be quick to forgive and be sacrificial in our service to them. All of these have little to do with our feelings or emotions but out of our love and duty to Jesus. When we love others in the church like this, the world will see it, and it will be our greatest witness.
A Fresh Twist
The world is watching the church. Most are looking for it to stumble and point out the hypocrisy, but others are looking for direction and hope they will find it in the church. When we operate as Christ desires, the light of the church shines brighter, and it draws those who are lost and hurting.