The New CommandmentBro. David Chancellor
4/1/2001 11:00 AM
John gives us the account of events that led up to Christ's death. In chapters 13-17 Christ is making his last message before he goes to the cross. He was summing things up. He was letting the disciples know he was going away, and while they couldn't come now, they could come later. He was giving them instructions that they would need to live after he was gone. Christ brought his message to the Jews, but when he went to the cross, he went for all mankind. When he spoke to his disciples here, he gave them something for all mankind. He gave them a new commandment. During Christ's ministry he always before had referenced the old commandment. Here, he gives a completely new commandment. "Love one another."
Christ frequently quoted the old commandment, "Ye have heard that it hath been said..." The old law was concerned with what was equal, fair and just. Much of humanity is happy and willing to accept "equal, just and fair." The new commandment was different. It says if you are treated bad, you just let it go. Most people want to "get even."
The scribe heard the ones that tried to challenge Jesus and threw his own question in: "What is the first command?" Jesus answer was: "Love God with all you have" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." In another place Jesus follows this with the story of the Good Samaritan. If you love your neighbor as yourself it will all be equal. (See Leviticus 19). It will be just, equal, and right. There is an old commandment and a new commandment. What about the new commandment makes it new?
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." This was pretty equal from both ends. The one that asked, "who is my neighbor" was wanting to know the limits of the law. Christ takes things further and tells them to love their enemies. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" The new commandment focuses on something else. Christ would have us love all others as he has loved us. How has he loved us? "Bless them that curse you." When they asked, they were trying to trap Christ and get him in trouble, but he didn't return that. Christ did good to the ones that hated him - they were coming to kill him - he healed the man's ear that was hacked off by one of his disciples. Christ wept over Jerusalem. He would have done good by the, but they wouldn't let him. Even while hanging on the cross, he prayed for their forgiveness, because they lacked understanding. People today still don't understand and Christ is still praying for those that despitefully use and persecute. Christ is still praying and has love for you. By Christ's example, we see what is new in the command. Christ loved us first. It was not an equal love. We were his enemies, but he loved us anyway. Paul tells us that Christ loved us when we were sinning and unlovable. "As I have loved you...that ye love one another." As Christ gave his commandment, all sectarian love was done away with. As we consider God's church, the fact that we love the saints really doesn't mean as much as how we love the sinner.
John 13:34, 35
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples," if you love the sinner. The church of God is an evangelistic church. We need a genuine concern for those around us. They may be headed in the wrong direction, but we love them and care about them anyway. An identifying part of God's church is that we care about those that are difficult to be around. "Love one another as I have loved you." There is a new qualification here. We should be touched by those who aren't so close, and care for them. Christ gave a very real demonstration of the new commandment as he prepared for death and the cross. The love of Christ needs to be demonstrated to those about us. Love in the face of persecution.
It says he would forgive all trespasses. Trespasses are things done against another, not just the wrong done itself. Christ forgave us so nothing would be between us and God. He is not going to bring it back up. You or the devil might bring it back up, but God won't. The old commandment was nailed to the cross - just, equal and fair. The new commandment is "as I have loved you." We may not be treated right and maybe have to go through some things, but can we love over that and pray for them? Christ brought something that goes beyond the old. Love others and reach out to others.