Thursday, May 31, 2007

A New Commandment

Some Sadducees had been asking Jesus questions and debating with Him.

28One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
29“Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Jesus here is quoting from Deut. 6:4).
31The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (and this quote is from Lev. 19:18). There is none other commandment greater than these

(Mark 12:28-31 NASU).”

In answering the Scribe’s question Jesus begins by quoting the Law of Love; thus indicating that this was the foremost of all laws. He ended His quote by stating there is no other “greater than these;” thus indicating that at this point there has not been a law given greater than these.

As our Lord was preparing His disciples for His departure He spoke to them concerning their relationship with one another. He began by stating,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NASU)

[A new commandment I give to you]

In what sense are we to understand that this was a new commandment? You shall love thy neighbor as yourself, was a positive precept of the law, and it is basically the same that Christ repeats here; how then was it new? The answer lies in the statement, “even as I have loved you.” Now Christ more than fulfilled the law; he not only loved his neighbor as himself, but he loved him more than himself, for he laid down his life for the salvation of all men who would believe upon Him. His was a self giving sacrificial love for the service of others. In this he calls upon the disciples to be like him; to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives in the cause of salvation for others. This was, strictly, a new commandment; not intended to supersede or replace the old, but in addition to or to become a part of the old.

No system of morality ever prescribed anything as pure as this. In these four points there does not exist a greater moral system.

  1. You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark. 12:30).
  2. Love your enemies (Matt. 5:44).
  3. Love your neighbors as yourself (Mark 12:31).
  4. And dedicate your lives to the edifying and strengthening of others for their salvation (John 13:34).

There is no greater law than this.

Pastor Jake

No comments: