Remember the time that the religious Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus? First the Sadducees sent one of theirs with a trick question. (Matt. 22:21-33) As usual, Jesus stunned the crowds with his profound wisdom. So, the Pharisees sent a “Lawyer”, which was literally an expert on the Law…
It’s important to notice that they did not ask about the Gospel. They specifically asked Jesus about the greatest commandment in *The Law*. Jesus did not come to bring the Law. Moses and the Prophets brought the Law, but Jesus came to fulfill the Law. He came to complete it in every aspect! Which is exactly what he did. But remember that Jesus was answering their question concerning the Law and not the Gospel.
37Jesus told him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39The second is exactly like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Is the greatest commandment still “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…?”
NEW COVENANT GIVEN ~
Immediately before Jesus went to the Cross, he ate “The Last Passover Supper” with his 12 disciples. After Jesus washed their feet and initiated the “Lord’s Supper”, he dismissed Judas, the betrayer. Then and only then did Jesus finally reveal the inauguration of the New Covenant!
“Drink from it, all of you, 28because this is my blood of the new covenant that is being poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins.” ~ Matt.26:27b,28
My favorite was the Apostle John’s perspective on the evening. John recorded profound truths that the other 3 did not. This was all inspired by the Holy Spirit, but for some reason, God kept the best for last. John didn’t write his until over a decade after the others. Where the other 3 recorded a few verses concerning this intimate occasion between the Lord and his faithful 11, John recorded 4 amazing chapters!
John 13-17 are among the most important chapters in the entire Bible.
Firstly because only John recorded the single New Covenant Commandment. Remember that Moses gave 10 commandments at Mt. Sinai when they received the Mosaic Covenant and Law. Abraham was given One Commandment of circumcision when he received His Covenant. None of those are in effect for the New Covenant believer because they were all fulfilled by the One. Jesus fulfilled those in himself and therefore was the only One able to give us the New! Neither Matthew, Mark or Luke record the words of the Lord Jesus’ “New Commandment”.
WHAT IS THE ONE COMMAND?
34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
There is so much meat in this one command. I want to break this down by a few points.
- It expects more than the Law.
- It demonstrated Love fulfilled.
- It provides whereas the Law demanded.
- Is more required?
Yes and no. Let’s deal with the “yes” first. The Law was summarized by ~ “Love the Lord your God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt.22:40)
This was a good thing, but it does demand a lot! All of the emphasis is on how much the person must do. They were required to love God with all of *their ability*. They were required to love their neighbor to the extent that they loved themselves. However, we are *now* told to go above and beyond that love in the Law and love each other “to the extent” that Jesus loved!
Jesus loved the world with a greater love than any person could ever work up on their own. No human could ever manufacture that powerful love!
Jesus just took the “love Law” to a whole ‘notha level!
It’s not enough to merely love people as you love yourself. Under the Law, the love that they had for themselves was actually inadequate. Even, if they were able to not break the law and therefore not sin; they would’ve all still fallen short of his glory! God expects us to love with his perfect love. God can finally ask that from us because he first demonstrated it. Perfect love, which is the highest law, has been revealed.
2. How was perfect love revealed?
God’s love for us had not been fully made known before the Cross. “This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” ~ 1 John 4:9 The Cross is how God revealed his love!
“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” ~ 1 John 4:10
Now we see that love is not first from us to God, but initiated from God to us! Once more~ 19We love, because He first loved us.” God made the first move. We simply respond. Our entire Faith depends on this Truth. The Law could not reveal this, it could only reveal people’s inability! (Romans 3:20)
God redefined love by revealing it in himself, in the flesh of Jesus, the Word of God. Love is not what you do for God; it’s what God has done for us!
Back to Jesus’ words before the Cross ~ John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
No greater love had ever before been known to mankind! God, as a man, laid down his life for his friends. Even though the world hated him, Jesus was a friend to them and laid down his life for everyone. This was a greater love than the Law was able to reveal…and we are expected to love one another with the same selfless love that Jesus showed in his life.
But there is so much Good News in this. Because this Gospel functions differently than the Law. The Law was so focused on demanding from people! But, the Gospel doesn’t expect without providing….
3. How does the New Covenant provide?
This is where the Gospel says “no” to demanding more than the Law. Because where the Law commanded, the Gospel empowers! Why can God ask us to love one another with the full capacity of his love? Because not only has God now demonstrated love. He has given us his love in the Holy Spirit!
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God…” 1 John 3:1b
Do we see it? This Gospel is so much more than salvation from hell and the promise of Heaven. He has granted us the right to be his heirs in life (now) because we are his children. That’s something that we can continually hope for in spite of any negative circumstances in our lives because we know He’s working it out for our good.
Romans 5:5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
The Holy Spirit shines the love of God in our hearts and continually empowers us as we trust him. The Holy Spirit has many aspects. He was the “7-fold anointing” that remained on Jesus and empowered him. The Spirit of wisdom, revelation, fear of the Lord, knowledge of God, counsel, Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of power! (Isaiah 11:1-3)
Paul spoke of the Holy Spirit this way ~ “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Power and the Spirit of love that God has released in us! God’s love is not something that we have to work up, it’s something that we merely abide in. Remember that we perceive God’s love in Jesus life and death. He has given us this great love by his Holy Spirit in us and we respond by consenting to this Truth!
John 15:9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”
This sums it all up perfectly! This one small verse summarizes all 3 aspects of the New Commandment. It reveals God’s love demonstrated. It articulates the One Command’s expectations and it provides the key to fulfilling God’s requirement.
“Abide in my love.”
This one simple truth is truly much more than being nice to people. 1 Corinthians 13 described the reality that love is much more than mere actions. True Agape love is definitely not a feeling. It’s the very motivation of all the God is and has ever done. It’s the perfection of God manifested in human flesh. And it’s only possible by first believing in God’s infinite love.
FOCUS ON HIS LOVE FOR YOU ~
In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed ~16I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Do you want to be completely perfect and filled with God?
Abide in love.
That’s the long and the short of what Paul was describing in these profound passages. It’s not complicated. This is a Simple Gospel!
1 John 4: 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. “
Beloved, Be loved and be love. Perceive the Love that God has for us which he demonstrated in Christ. Believe it with all your heart and don’t let anything shake you from the Truth that God always loves you and receive his love for yourself. Then and only then can we fulfill the Perfect Law to love one another to the extent that Jesus loved!
John 15:9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” ~ Jesus