Love like Jesus

Discerning right from wrong in the 21st Century seems so difficult.

Some would say, “Just follow the 10 Commandments.”

Yet, that is not very helpful.

One could keep all 10 commandments and be a horrible father, husband, employee, etc.

Others might offer, “Follow the Bible.”

But did you know the Old Testament alone has 613 commandments?

Obeying some of them today would get you thrown in jail.

As modern-day followers of Jesus, maybe looking at His words would be helpful.

Jesus’ Commandments Reduction Plan

Jesus reduces all the commandments down to just one.

It is the only one you and I will ever need.

Keep this one and you will do well.

Some might think I am referring to the response Jesus gave to the lawyer when asked about the greatest commandment; i.e. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 22:37-39).

However, I am not suggesting these.

They do summarize The Law and The Prophets (Old Testament). But, they are not His New Commandment.

Jesus cuts through the moral fog of our day and all time by reducing all the commandments down to just one?

I’ll say it again, JUST ONE.

How helpful is that?

His ethic is extremely simple.

It is an ethic with no loopholes.

There is no wiggle room and it applies to every situation and every relationship.

There is no possibility of it being misused.

None.

His lone commandment has no room for the strong mistreating the weak.

There’s no place for people in positions of power using those powers to manipulate others.

Men cannot exploit women; owners cannot abuse tenants; the rich cannot control the poor; and so on.

His ethic is perfect for all, yet difficult to carry out.

It is the foundation that guarantees both life and living.

The only commandment ever needed

The night before Jesus was taken away, tried and executed, He has supper with His twelve disciples.

At that meal, He did something amazing and then said something amazing.

The remarkable thing He did, was HE WASHED THE FEET of His disciples.

Tradition said they should have washed His feet.

But Jesus was always changing the paradigm and at supper He did it again.

You can read this beautiful story in the Gospel of John, chapter 13.

Later that night as they reclined at the table, He discloses the one-and-only commandment any follower of Jesus will ever need.

Here it is.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34).

A game changer

Being commanded to love was not new.

But this new commandment had a brand new caveat; “as. I. have. loved. you.”

Now that’s a game changer.

Remember, this was before He loved them in His grandest fashion, THE CROSS.

Loving others as Christ loved us gives us no room to wiggle our way out; no room for arguments; no room for second-guesses.

Jesus called us to love like Him, then He loved us, all the way to His own death. (Go back and read that last sentence.)

His lone ethic takes us from laws-to-keep, to hearts-to-have.

And once His Spirit transforms our selfish hearts of stone into selfless hearts of love, no laws or commandments are necessary.

“…Love one another; as I have loved you…” will keep me busy until the day I die.

Pastor Bob Denham can be reached at pbob1@wburgnaz.com.

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