Daily Thoughts : January 12th
Jn 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Love was clearly a central part to the Law. The requirement was to love the Lord with all your heart (Deut 6:5), and your neighbour as yourself (Lev 19:18), which Jesus repeated in his teaching (Mt 22:37 -39), but on the night of the Last Supper as he is gathered with his disciples, he gives them a new form of the command to love. Now why was it a new command? It was new because of the emphasis that comes – “As I have loved you”.
So first of all we need to consider how Jesus loved these disciples. There are two answers. First he accepted each of them just as they were. Peter was the classic example of someone constantly putting his foot in it, but Jesus loved him and took him just as he was. That's why Peter kept on doing it. Yes, there were times when Jesus corrected him but the truth was that Peter felt so secure in Jesus' love, so accepted by him, that he felt free to carry on being himself.
The second answer is that Jesus laid down his life for his disciples and we are thus called to lay down our lives for one another. Now I don't think this is often thought about, but that is what this command means. Be willing to put yourself out for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Be willing to put their needs before yours. When Peter realised that this is what Jesus did for him, this is what changed him. We love because he first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). It is this sort of love that changes others. Let's love like this.
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