34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT
Jesus gives a new command. Love each other. It’s an interesting command as it’s not really a new command. In Leviticus we are reminded:
18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 NLT
Jesus was surely aware of this direct command from the Pentateuch. The idea of loving your neighbor was radical in the time of Moses. It was something the religious leaders of the day had a hard time following. In fact it was hard for anyone to follow. But Jesus does not point us to the Old Covenant, he points us to an even more radical command.
Love each other, just as I have loved you.
Herein lies the radical command. It’s one thing to love your neighbor as yourself. It’s quite another to love like Jesus loved. If we uncover this truth we’ll be amazed at the kind of love Jesus demonstrated on Earth. Jesus touched the lepers, played with children, hung out with sinners, associated with the rich, poor and despised, he lived His life on earth as an offering. He poured out His life for those he came to save.
Jesus shocked his followers with love. Jesus wrapped himself in a towel, got on his knees and began to scrape the mud off the feet of his disciples. Then he washed their feet. It was a moment of amazing love. After finishing with this powerful demonstration of humble love Jesus looks as his friends and says, “Love each other, just as I have loved you.” Surely, His radical command to love blew their minds!
Yet, this is the kind of love Jesus calls us to embrace. We are not called to simply receive love we are called to dispense love. It’s a love that is hard to give and live. The new command of Jesus isn’t just how we would want to be treated. Most of us would not expect someone to go out of their way and extravagantly dispense love toward us. But Jesus says go beyond your pre-defined expectations and do the unthinkable–love willingly, love radically, love unexpectedly.
Let’s follow Jesus! I challenge you. Find someone today and do the unexpected. Pour out extravagant love in a unexpected moment. You’ll prove to the world that you are a disciple of Jesus.