At the Last Supper, when Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:34) the disciples might well have reacted with confusion. After all, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ was one of the commandments God gave way back in Moses’ time (Lev 19:18) and Jesus had repeatedly pointed to it as one of the two greatest commandments in the whole law.

But Jesus immediately gives the command to love a new dimension: ‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ The love Jesus commands us to show is shaped by his own love for us, shown in the death he suffered for us.

Years later, John reminded the readers of his letter that love modelled on Jesus’ love was a key sign of a real relationship with God. At the heart of knowing God, then, is knowing both how to receive Jesus’ love and to show it to one another.


An old-new commandment

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