The Greatest of These Is Love
Commandments are given with the intention that they be obeyed. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Paul explains in Romans 8 that God has given believers His Spirit “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). Jesus summarized the commands God had given in two commands: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, shortly before His death and resurrection, Jesus gives His disciples a “new commandment: “Love one another!” And in order to emphasize the importance of this command, Jesus adds, “By THIS all people will know that you are MY disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). In a world filled with self-centered “love,” where hatred, division and violence toward others abounds, genuine love for one another, produced by the Holy Spirit, is what Jesus says will distinguish HIS disciples from others. “Loving one another” as disciples of Jesus is not optional! As loving our neighbors flows from our love for God, so also loving one another must be focused on Christ and the cross. Only then will we be able and willing to “lay down our lives for our friends,” as Jesus laid down HIS life for US!!!