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Voice of the Lord

I am giving you a new command....In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other (John 13:34).

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The Torah instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18). Why, then, does Yeshua call the above commandment "new"?

The Old Covenant idea of loving one's neighbor emphasizes fair treatment, "Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge ...rather, love your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:18). In a sense, it means that we are to treat other people in the same way that we want them to treat us.

In the above passage, however, Messiah is talking about a different kind of love—an agape (divinely empowered, sacrificial love). He taught about this kind of love in his derash (homily) known as the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5:44); he demonstrated it on the mount called Gulgolta (Golgotha). In laying down his life for us, Yeshua set the precedent for our relationships with one another. We are to love one another sacrificially, preferring others to ourselves.

The greatest testimony of Yeshua living within us ought to be our love one for another. Many times, Jewish visitors to our congregation have told me that it was this kind of love—the kind that prefers one another and is modeled after 1 Corinthians 13—that impressed them the most.

Do you feel and demonstrate this kind of love toward others? This is Yeshua's new commandment to each of us.

...ask the Lord to fill me with agape love. "Lord, help me to be selfless rather than selfish, to be willing to lay down my life for others."


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright © 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, August 20th, 2017
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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