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A New Commandment I Give to You, That You Love One Another

29 February • Thursday of the Second Week in Lent


John 13:31-36

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”

Meditation

 

"Love One Another"—three simple words often heard by many. Response can be expected to be varied and wide-ranging. Some may know, recognise these words as those from Jesus Christ. They spell out a new command. Commands are common and often complied. Compliance could range from ready acceptance to reserved adherence. For Christians, these words should mean more than a mere command which they would willingly obey. These words suggest something that Christ gave to His disciples. This gift was indeed a new command—a new precious precept, a convincing concept, a winsome and winning way of life and living. These words also revealed Christ's expectations, His heart's longings for His followers. We must be mindful of the circumstances and situation in which these words were said, especially Christ's compassion for His people.


While "to love others" may be a common enough injunction, ours is to love others as Christ loved us. This represents an entirely different and new dimension. The outcome would be obviously overwhelming.


Jesus knew this and had emphasised that people seeing this would know that this expression of love for one other is evidence that such people are disciples of Christ. In our increasingly distressing, disturbing world and trying times with all the growing complexities, confusion, compromises and conflicts, we need such a message with all its influence and impact more than before. Even in societies and situations spared from these calamities, this message is relevant. The same applies to pluralistic situations and multi-religious communities.


While most Christians, including readers of our Bible Society's Lent Readings, long to be among these who truly love one another, some may fail, fall short or find difficulty in doing so. This is where we need to encourage one another in our own respective churches and groups. We should optimise our resources of prayer, scriptures and fellowship in so doing. Daily Bible-reading including using these Bible Society Lent Readings should be a great help.


Allow me to share an experience from my student days in Sydney. I had the opportunity to serve on the Executive Committee of the Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF). We were very struck, indeed impressed immensely by one of our committee whose life seemed so very different from everyone else, even those keen and committed Christians. Every attitude, action, word and response personify pure and perfect love. We soon discovered that every morning she would kneel by her bed with her Bible opened at I Corinthians 13. Daily, she would read and pray, even plead that every verse in that great chapter on LOVE would be true/fulfilled in her life. The Lord is surely pleased to answer such prayers as He did so wonderfully in her case. I hope this is something that some, hopefully many, of us could also consider doing, if not DAILY, at least REGULARLY.


Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, You are indeed worthy of all glory, honour, praise and thanksgiving. Forgive us for not being constantly conscious of Your being the great, gracious and good God who has made it possible for us to call You Father. We are truly thankful that in these Lent Readings we have been reminded of Your love and concern for us and for sending/giving us Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


We thank You for today's reading and for a glimpse of Christ's life and love for us before His dying for us. We are moved by His call for us to love one another as He loved us. We confess how much we have failed in this regard. We forget to seek His provision and enablement to show and share His love for the benefit of others.


Thank You too for giving us Your word in 1 Corinthians 13. Help us to read and pray that every verse may be fulfilled in our lives. Help us to be so filled with Your love that in our every relationship with Your people and those who have yet to believe, they may see Christ in us and yearn to have Him fully in their lives as well. Amen.


Action

 

Let us pray for and encourage one another that we grow in our Christlikeness, showing and sharing His love with all we meet, such that all may give Him all glory, praise and thanks.


Elder Dr Lawrence Chia

Chairman, Evangelical Alliance of Singapore

(EAS, formerly known as EFOS)

Vice-President, Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES)

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