John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
The fact that Jesus says that there is a new commandment is strange. The old commandment commanded the believer to love their neighbor, so how is loving one another different? The old commandment is found in Leviticus 19:18 where it says, “…but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:…” You will notice that the old commandment commands us to love others as we love ourselves. To love one another as we love ourselves would certainly change every relationship; however, the new commandment goes further than loving one another as ourselves. The new commandment is: “That ye love one another; as I have loved you,…” In other words, the new commandment is to love people the same way that Christ loved us, which was to lay down His life for us.
This new commandment is interesting because Jesus commanded the disciples to love each other. Why would Jesus command the disciples to love each other? He commanded them to love each other because He knew that as they worked with each other that they would discover the flaws of each other, which would make it difficult to love each other as Christ loved them. There are several lessons this new commandment teaches that I would like to share with you.
First, the new commandment means that your love will be tested. There is no need to command people to do something if they are already going to do it. The fact that Jesus made a command to love each other, and especially those we work the closest with shows that He knew that our love for each other would be tested.
Second, the new commandment means that you are to love each other when you discover their weaknesses and flaws. Jesus loved the disciples despite their flaws, and you are to love those whom you work within the ministry despite their flaws. When you work closely with people, you will discover their flaws, but that should not stop you from loving them. In fact, their flaws will at times adversely affect you, but that should not stop you from loving them. You are to love people as Jesus loved His disciples and that was that He loved them when they were at their worst as much as He loved them when they were at their best. The greatest test of your love for others is whether you love people at their worst to the same degree you love them at their best.
Third, the new commandment means your love for those you work the closest to will be tested the most. You are going to have friction with those you work with, but you are still to love them. Don't let the friction of working together cause you not to love someone. You are both on the same team, so be careful about allowing the bumping of the elbows as you work together to cause you to become unloving.
Fourth, the new commandment means how you work with those closest to you will show others you are Christ’s disciple. The greatest way that the church can show they are Christ’s disciples is to love each other so much that they are willing to lay down their life for each other. The world will never understand this type of love, and when they see it, they will know that those who do it are Christ’s disciples. The question is: do you show the world that you are Christ’s disciple by your love for those closest to you? I hope you do.