New Command

Read John 13:31-38

How many commandments are there in the Old Testament? Ten, right? Nope. Higher. 613. If you want to see a list of all 613 you can find one here. Beyond the ten that many of us know there are some real fun ones like, To examine the marks in locusts, so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Lev. 11:21). Or, to break the neck of the firstling of an ass if it is not redeemed (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20). Then there is my personal favorite, to carry out the ordinance of the Red Heifer so that its ashes will always be available (Num. 19:9). Actually I have no idea about that last one, but it just sounds interesting. Anyway, there was a lot of commandments, so you might imagine there was a few sighs and rolling eyes from the disciples as Jesus said,

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34, 35 NLT)

A new commandment… only this one is different. Love each other. It’s not that clean and unclean locusts don’t matter. If I am going to eat a locust I want it to be a clean one. God is still as concerned with what I put in my body and consume as he was then. I’m pretty sure that some of the health problems we face in our culture could be rectified if we would just be a little more conscious of this. That being said, the good news of the gospel is that God’s love for us is not dependent on you and me fulfilling the requirements of these or any other of the 613 commandments. The requirement of law has been fulfilled in Jesus (Mat 5:17). Without the weight of this on our shoulders, we can concentrate on living out this new commandment to love each other as Jesus loved us.

How might you and me live out this new commandment with the people we meet today?

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