So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
—John 13:34-35 (NLT)
“Love one another,” Jesus said to the disciples in the Upper Room the night before His crucifixion. “Love as I have loved you.” It is a new commandment because Jesus, who has just spoken it, is about to reveal its incredible purpose by giving His life. Not ever in the history of time has someone loved to this degree. Not ever before has God’s son, a man who had no sin, taken on the sin of the world out of the purest of love. Never before has someone given His life unconditionally. So this kind of love has never before been demonstrated. It is a new commandment because Jesus has prepared himself to offer it.
Just before speaking this new commandment, He has washed the disciples’ feet and revealed the one who will betray him and the one who will deny Him. He has made himself less before them. He knows they don’t get it. Gethsemane is before Him where the disciples will sleep, and Calvary waits for Him alone. And there Jesus’ love will give everything for these weary disciples and for the whole world. Mercy and grace with flow from the Savior who has just said, “Love as I have loved you.”
Just as He has loved us, we are also to love so that others will know that we are His disciples—that we belong to Him. But what has happened to His mercy and grace that flowed at Calvary for us? Do we grasp what His grace accomplished? He exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He, who knew no sin, became sin, so that we who believe in Him, could become the righteousness of God. When we understand this truth, we begin to comprehend just how much He really loves us.
Well, we speak what is rote. We say we love with Jesus' love. We say the words. Yet so often we do as the world and bicker and argue among ourselves and find fault and hold grudges and judge. If we could only grasp the depth of His grace and love for us, loving others would flow easily and naturally from His throne of grace through us to a starving world. The new commandment that He established by giving up any "rights" and offering His own life cries out to make a difference so that we might really understand what His grace accomplished on Calvary. He sets us free from the burden of the law, but have we allowed the Holy Spirit to renew us in the spirit of our minds so we might understand what it means to be free from the burden of sin that He has forgiven? Have we allowed the love of Calvary to transform us to its greatest depth and in its highest purpose—to set us free from self?
This is a daily offering—laying down of self, and allowing Jesus to transform and renew. Self was crucified on Calvary. A new commandment was given—the old law was fulfilled, never again to take precedence over His grace. We are to love as He has loved us. Human love is fickle, but His love loves beyond measure—beyond fault—beyond "rights." His love is everlasting mercy and life-changing grace that conquered sin and conquers self.
Allow His grace that put you first on Calvary, to renew and fill your heart with His love and not your own. "Love as I have loved you," He said, and stretched out His arms and died—for you—for me. There will never be a greater love.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher