Summary: Our gateway in knowing God is to know love in particular loving others as what Jesus has commanded us.
February is a “Love” month as we see again couples whether married or engaged are lining up their favorite restaurants to have a romantic dinner. We can feel that love is in the air. However, this love that we are seeing and sometimes we tend to abuse because of its vast meaning has a different meaning and interpretation base from Jesus’s words in our monthly text. That is why if we need to know the true meaning of the word love, then we need to know who God is. Because God is love. We don’t need to have a goddess for love because the very author of this word is none other than God Himself.
The world may have a different meaning for this word like it’s an intense feeling of deep affection, an excited emotion whenever we are with our loved ones and so on. Infact the world is in search of the word love that even in songs a lot has been written and composed about it. One of the hit song of the group named “Foreigner” said “I wanna know what love is”. Do you remember that song? Today we wanted to know God and our gate in knowing Him is to know love, know His love and know the kind of love for others.
This month our theme “Know God, Know Love” will try to expound more explanations and exhortations about this topic why do we need to know love. One particular verse that Jesus used to explain this word is found in our text in John 13:34-35
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
34Kaya isang bagong utos ang ibinibigay ko sa inyo: Magmahalan kayo. Kung paano ko kayo minamahal, ganoon din dapat ang pagmamahal n'yo sa isa't isa.
35Kung nagmamahalan kayo, malalaman ng lahat ng tao na mga tagasunod ko kayo.”
In knowing God, we must know LOVE. What is this Love all about and how it is important for us to understand its very meaning coming from Jesus Himself.
1. It is a new Command to be followed
“A new command I give you: Love one another”
In knowing love, God has given us a new command. There is no option for us not to follow that command but it is a directive for us to strictly observe. However notice that Jesus pointed that this is a command but it is not that it is new to His disciples. We know that the Jews can only follow a certain rule from their law once it is commanded by God to them. And we all know that Moses has given them the command in Deuteronomy 6:5-6:
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
And in Leviticus 19:18b it says “but love your neighbor as yourself.” So having these 2 commands from the OT, the Jews and Jesus’ disciples is not new to this command.
But when Jesus told them that a “new” command has been given to them it means it does not mean a “new” command but that has a “new” meaning, a fresh insight or explanation. Jesus started the explanation of the new meaning of love when He repeated this command to them in Mark 12:30-31. He combined the commandments from Deuteronomy and Leviticus reinforcing the commandments given by God to Moses.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
We take noticed that He mentioned in verse 31 the second greatest command which is to love your “neighbor” as yourselves. Meaning to love ourselves is to equally love our neighbors as well.
But in our text today Jesus emphasized that this is a new command. How did this command becomes new when infact it’s almost the same as the one He mentioned in the 2nd greatest commandment? The difference is that He limits the scope of that love from loving our neighbors to loving one another. Why? Because Jesus has a purpose in saying that to His disciples.
They will need each other since Jesus on this scenario would like to give them a hint or a clue of what’s going to happen to Him and also to His own disciples. Look at the earlier verse of John 13, in v33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “