In these verses 34 and 35 of chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, our LORD YESHUA, JESUS gives us a new look at an old commandment found in Deuteronomy 6, verse 4, and Leviticus 19, verse 18b. But it's not surprising, is it, for the LORD YESHUA, JESUS is the same LORD of the Old Covenant and of the New Covenant; and the same law obviously applies in both. GOD's Word is unchangeable.
'He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.'
(Hebrews 13, verse 8). This unique precept
'To love one another as I have loved you, love one another,'
was until then an unheard of example of love. It is to love others as Messiah, Himself has loved us.
'And by this,'said our LORD,
'shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have this love one to another.' It becomes self-evident, therefore, that if we abide in this new example of His gracious love given us so freely without the works of the Law having any bearing for it, then, conversely, if we show no love for one another, how can we say we are His disciples? For we would be void of His wisdom, His mind, nor be taught of this precept of His love without merit. Did He not condescend to come into this evil world as our substitute sacrifice, that we may no longer live to the law of sin and death, but cleave to the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah, as He had thus shown by His offering, unmerited love for mankind by taking upon Himself our sinful nature?
'For the wages of sin is death,' thus snatching us, as it were, from the jaws of satan,
'that all who believe that YESHUA, JESUS is LORD and Saviour, may have everlasting life.' 'And I will raise him up at the last day.' (John 6, verse 40).
We are commanded to love our neighbours, and by this is meant all mankind. Not because they are wise, holy, or virtuous, for all mankind neither ever was, or ever will be so. Therefore we can be certain it has nothing to do with virtue or merit. GOD loves us not because we are wise, and good and holy, but in pity to us, that we might have happiness in our lives, and peace of mind. The very same attitude should be ours' towards our brethren, not looking for or requiring any merit. And that, at all times, the Spirit of love is filling our lives, that we may not appear to be like the hypocrite, or with empty sounds and tinkling cymbals, with no substance.
Who among us can fail to realize this absolute need of the Holy Spirit to be the sole means by which the Divine love demanded by Messiah of His disciples, has any hope of being worked out in his life? For when YESHUA, JESUS says,
'as I have loved you, so you are to love one another,'He makes it plain that His love is the standard and rule by which our actions are to be judged. Clearly, nothing less than the birth of this love in the heart, can make us that which, as His disciples, we are to be.
Now since Divine love can have no beginning, but from a birth of the Divine nature in us;
'Therefore,' says the apostle John in his 1st Letter, Chapter 4, verse 19,
'we love Him because He first loved us.' For as His Holy Spirit must first be a gift to us, or born in us; and then we have that of GOD in us which alone can love Him with His own love.
'Let us love one another,'continues the Apostle,
'for love is of GOD, and everyone who loves is born of GOD, and knows GOD. Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we also ought to love one another.'
The Apostle Paul makes a clear statement concerning the very same Commandments in his Letter to the Romans, concerning love. In Chapter 13, verses 8 to 10:
'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' And why? Because love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the Law.
And we should not forget that great prayer of Paul's to the Ephesian church, Chapter 3, verses 14 to 21, (and I paraphrase for brevity): 'That they might be strengthened with might by the Spirit in their inner man, unto the indwelling of Messiah by faith, in order for them to be rooted and grounded in this Divine love.' So we know with certainty, that only the Holy Spirit of GOD, Who alone is love, can fill us with that love that He has required of His children. As this love passes all knowledge, we know that it is not required by gaining the scholarship knowledge of it; but by the power of the living GOD through His indwelling Spirit in our hearts.
Listen to these words of our LORD to the Father in His High Priestly prayer on behalf of His disciples,
'That the love with which You loved me, may be in them, and I in them.' (John, Chapter 17, verse 26).
If you can show me a man, or a woman, whose heart has no desire or prayer in it, but to love GOD with their whole soul and spirit, and their neighbour as they would themselves, then you have shown me one who knows Christ, Messiah, YESHUA, JESUS, and is known of Him; and all that came from the old serpent is trodden underfoot. Nothing of self: pride, wrath, envy, covetousness, or worldly wisdom, can live within them. Because that love which fulfills the whole Law and prophets, and which is Messiah, come to birth and life in them; is the source and power of their every thought, word and deed. And if they have no share, or part, with foolish errors, cannot be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, it is because to be always governed by this love, is the same thing as to be always taught by GOD.
'Love never fails.'
Let me conclude with that beautiful benediction of Paul to the Ephesians:
'Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask, or think, according to the power that works in us. To Him be glory in the Kehillah (Church), by Messiah YESHUA, JESUS, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.'