November 30, 2018

New Commandment

By: Larry Shaffer

New Commandment 

John 13 

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’ 

Therefore, when he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me... where I am going, you cannot come. 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 another. 

Have you ever been bedside when a loved one is close to death? Everyone seems to have their own story of such a time. It’s always painful, however, some have stories of joyful passing’s and others, very painful. 

My cousin told me that at the moment of her father’s death, he convulsed, threw up and passed on in a most dreadful manner. She warned me that my father’s passing could be the same. However, my father on his deathbed, struggling to breath, simply breathed his last breath and passed on. My mom and I were the only ones there. We hugged and wept for a few moments, but there was a sense of peace. His suffering was over and he was now at home in heaven. My uncle, I fear, did not know Jesus and had never received Him. Thankfully, my father was at peace with God through Jesus. 

Jesus isn’t on His deathbed, per se, but He is well aware that His earthly life will end in a matter of days. Once Judas departs the room, Jesus looks beyond the impending pain and sees the glory to come. Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. Paul would later write about this reality: 

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason, also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11 

He also tells them where I am going you cannot come. He is going to leave them behind to carry on the work that He began. And therefore, he says, I have a NEW commandment to give you (vs34-35). “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  

What is new about it? The Old commandment was “love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus is saying, if you are going to represent me and continue my mission, you must love as I love. You are to love each other MORE than yourself. Unconditionally, sacrificially and without regard of yourself. The indwelling power of the Spirit of God will fill them and they will love as Jesus loved. And they will change the world. 

Jesus, without your Spirit within me, I would love myself above all else. But now I can love as You because you have poured YOUR love into my heart. I can now love because you FIRST loved me. You have given me the capacity to serve (wash others’ feet) and to love with YOUR love. You wanted your disciples to KNOW this lesson before you departed. How much more do we need to know this truth and live out this lesson. Help us Lord, to serve like you and to love like you. Amen