Not many people are fans of a new command.
Because that means that whatever was in place before, there is a new imperative that supercedes the previous command.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We get used to doing things a certain way, and when our way of doing things is challenged, we typically are not fans of change. Especially when what is changing is being commanded.
Jesus gave such an imperative in John 13:34.Jesus is at The Last Supper with His disciples, and He gives them a radical new instruction. Jesus has just informed the other 11 disciples that Judas was going to betray Him. And as He is talking after that He says to His disciples,
“a new commandment I give to you, that you love you one another, even as I have loved you.”
This was not natural. If it was natural, Jesus would not have said it was “a new commandment”. We do what is natural automatically, it is not new to us.
No one has to be told to breathe. Or eat. Or sleep. These are all things that we do because we were designed by our Creator to them, naturally.
When Jesus issues a new command to love, He goes a step further and says as a part of this new imperative to love, there is a certain way you are to love one another.
And that is you are to love one another “as I have loved you”, Jesus said.
Not like you would choose to love one another. Not based on how someone treats you. Not dependent on the love you share being reciprocated. None of that kind of love.
Jesus tells His followers, love unconditionally.
Love when you have been hurt.
Love those who use you.
Love those who gossip about you.
Love those who have wrecked your life.
Why? Because that is the way that Jesus loved the world.
He was rejected. He was abused. He was done wrong. His love was no reciprocated.
Yet He loved those individuals anyway.
This was a new command to love that was different than what the Jews would’ve known at the time. Under the law, if someone did you wrong, you sought justice and revenge. That is a natural reaction. That is a natural way of handling business.
But Jesus, who came to fulfill the law, said that’s not the way you are to live as His followers.
If you are a Jesus follower, love until it hurts.
Love those who don’t deserve it. Love those who run you in the ground. Love those who try to destroy your life. Love, and keep on loving.
Because that what Jesus commands those who are in Him to do.