"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.John 13:34(NASB)
The cross was drawing ever closer. Jesus had just washed the feet of His confused disciples, in an act of gracious love. The kingdom that seemed so promising a few short days earlier was fast fading into obscurity, as Christ talked of leaving them… of going away to a place where they could not follow – and then came the shocking realisation of His forthcoming death. It was at this time of intense sorrow and deep, deep passion that the little flock of Christ heard their Good Shepherd say: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, so love you one another.
The Sermon on the Mount had catapulted the Law of Moses into the realms of moral idealism, but here was a command for divine perfection - LOVE as I have loved… The Son of Man Whom they now confessed as Son of God was full of grace and truth - and He was shortly to display a love so staggering, that it baffles the minds of men – a divine love that they themselves were being called upon to emulate.
They did not understand that in a few short days Christ would rise from the dead, and in so doing would break the power of death in the lives of ALL who believed on His name. They did not understand that in a few short weeks they would be indwelt by the holy Spirit, so that the life that they now lived in the flesh would be the new life of Christ living in and through them - a life they would receive by the power of the Spirit - for the life of Christ and the love of Christ was to be their eternal portion… and it is our eternal portion too.
No one can love as Christ loved in the power of their own sinful flesh – No one can love as Jesus loved by their own imperfect human effort, however hard they try, for the love of man is but a faint reflection of the glorious Sun of Righteousness. But all who trust in His name have been made a new creation in Christ and have the life of Christ living in us and through us – and only as we walk in spirit and truth - in submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit within, can we fulfil this beautiful command to love as I have loved you, until we can at last say with Paul, it is not I that lives but Christ that lives in me.
It is not I that LOVE but the love of Christ in me.
Father may I live as Christ lived in spirit and truth, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Your will. May I love as Christ loved – so that in myself I become nothing in order that Christ may be seen in me and show forth His love in my life, to Your praise and glory in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.