In John 13 Jesus gave a “new command’ to his disciples. He told them that they were to love one another as he had loved them. Jesus’ statement indicated that this new command was different from all the other commands and instructions that they had received before including those they had received from him. That means, Jesus’ new command was different than the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. It was different than love your enemies and pray and bless those who persecute you.
But how was it different? If we go back and consider the Old Testament command to love your neighbor as yourself, we realize that anyone could fulfill this command. If individuals have the capacity to love themselves, and they do, then they also have the capacity to love their neighbor in that same manner, which according to Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan includes their enemy. However, in his new command, Jesus didn’t say to love one another as they love themselves, nor did he say to love their enemies, but they were to love one another as he loves them. That is a whole different type of love! Jesus being divine indicates that his’ followers are to love as Jesus loves, which means as God loves. This type of love is not possible without God’s help. Jesus’ new command may shed further light on what Jesus meant a little while later where in John 15, he told his disciples that he was the vine and they were the branches. Without remaining connected to Jesus, they could not produce fruit, that is they could not love others as Jesus loved them. Without remaining connected to Jesus, and I believe Jesus means connected relationally, we will be unable to love others as God loves them. How might the world look different if all those who follow Jesus sought to fulfill this command consistently? What would that look life in my life and your life?