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Oh To Be Wise Meditations

Jesus said, a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Looking at this with fresh eyes this morning. Amazing the brand of love God in Christ is calling us to practice. Even to the point of our enemies we are called to love in the midst of there hatred for us. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. You have heard people say, "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies." There were Zealots in Jesus day that wanted to overthrow the government that was oppressing Israel. It had become a hate issue over time even before the Zealots. Israel was to be seat apart but still love the stranger. But the enemy? Jesus set a whole new bar and standard for love on the Cross. The nation of Israel as a whole still have not understood. Its like veil over there eyes. Gods love in Christ honors Torah and brings raises love to another level by the power of the Gospel.


Jesus had taught the disciples many things during the three years they had been together, but this new commandment was the final one before He was crucified. What would it take to impact the world as He had done? It wouldn’t be their speaking abilities, their miracle-working powers, or their courage. Jesus said the world would be drawn to His message when it saw His followers continuing to love each other. In giving the new commandment, Jesus laid the foundation for the formation of a group of people unique in human history. Jesus created a group identified by one thing: love. Other groups may identify themselves by skin color, by uniform, by shared interests, by adherence to a code of behavior, by alma mater, etc. But the church is unique. For the first and only time in history, Jesus created a group whose identifying factor is love. Followers of Christ are recognized by their love for each other.


The new commandment to love one another is one we all need. The disciples had not started out loving each other. They were a mismatched crew of unlikely world-changers: some friends, some relatives, some strangers. They were as rough around the edges, sinful, and selfish as anyone else. But, in the three years that they followed this new Rabbi, they had experienced the love of God as no one ever had before. They came to the realization that this was God come to earth. The love and patience with which He taught them began to change them. He modeled love for them. He demonstrated the compassion and tenderness that God has for mankind—but this was a God that looked nothing like how the Pharisees described Him.


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