Since the fourth Sunday of Advent is actually Christmas Eve I have some "extra" devotionals for Advent. So, I am going to post some of my "Love" devotionals this weekend and next. I hope you enjoy...
The New Command
Read John 13:31 - 35
As Jesus was preparing to go to the cross of Calvary he gave his disciples one last command, and it was a command He not only taught, but He also practiced. He calls the disciples “My little children.” This is a term of endearment and affection. Jesus lovingly, begins the task of preparing his disciples for his departure from this world. Soon, He will be handed over to the authorities to be tortured and crucified. Through His death Jesus will be returning to the Father in Heaven. He is returning to the place where he rules and reigns supremely. The disciples could not go with him; this is a trip and destination that can only be reached by the road paved with torture, pain, and sacrifice.
Before all of this He gives a “new commandment…” Jesus lays out what he expects his followers to do in his absence. In his commentary on John, theologian D.A. Carson writes, “The new command is simple enough for a toddler to memorize and appreciate, and profound enough that the most mature believers are repeatedly embarrassed at how poorly they comprehend it and put it into practice.” Sadly Carson is right.
Jesus’ command is for the disciples to love one another in the same way He loved them. With Jesus’ impending death, the disciples would soon see the importance of loving each other in the manner that Jesus truly loved them.
Jesus is giving them a life command and not one that they are to keep once and then move on. Love must be displayed continually so people will see they belong to Jesus. According to first century Christian Tertullian the Pagans marveled at the love of the Christian fellowship of believers, especially as they faced some intense persecution. First century author Tertullian wrote, “See how they love one another! ... How they are ready even to die for one another?” May we display this love to one another as well?
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I currently live on the Gulf Coast of Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with over 25 years of full time ministry. He is and has been faithful.