“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 13:34
Have we ever looked up the word “command”? In WordWeb it looks something like this:
- An authoritative direction or instruction to do something.
- (military) A military unit or region under the control of a single officer.
- The power or authority to command. – “an admiral in command”.
- Availability for use. – “the materials at the command of the potters grew”.
- A position of highest authority. – “the corporation has just undergone a change in command”.
- Great skillfulness and knowledge of some subject or activity. – “a good command of French”.
- (computing) a line of code written as part of a computer program.
If we digest it a little further we may see some more interesting facets. First of all we can get the sense that there are higher and lower level of entities. Second we may note that without either entity “command” would fall to the ground. Thirdly we could see that because both parties are involved, there is some tie between them. This may not impress many people because we normally use command to mean some kind of obligation on our part. It is a rule that we must dutifully carry out. However, in the case of our Lord giving us a command, is this the more constructive interpretation to make?
Jesus gives us this directive (definition 1). He hands us something we can use (definition 4). Far from being something which we should grudgingly do, He offers us a chance to share in something with Him (definition 2). It gives us an opportunity to look up to Him (definition 3 and 5). It becomes something we could get good at (definition 6). And if we were to make some form of automation from our command, we could use it as a sort of programming for our souls and the Way we run (definition 7).
The traditional way we might have been taught to see the commands of God may not give us this much contact with our Lord. We can try to take the commands written in the Bible and turn them into cold detached actions that we can mechanically carry out to the letter. We can try to make our salvation depend on following a set of rules. Or we can accept the direction of Jesus. We can leap at the chance to fall in rank behind Him. We can joyfully return His care and attention. We can feel grateful that He reaches out to us in a Way that will lift us up.
And What is His command? It is to love! It is to love as He has shown us He loves us! It is to fill ourselves with His love! It is to overflow that love and let it pour out of us! It is to return that love! It is to share it with others!
Love is a mighty gift the Lord gives us as He hands it to us! In handing it to us in a command, we can partake with Him in this blessed gift. Shall we attempt to embrace this gift now? Shall we accept this tie with Him? Shall we use it to access all the eternal benefits which only our Lord knows in full are waiting for us? Shall we welcome now this wonderful command of Jesus? Shall we see to it that Jesus´ command finds a receptive home in us today?
Thank You for Your command. Thank You for showing us the Way! Thank You for being our Way. Let us receive You now! Let us welcome You into our hearts! Let Your love come to us today and make its home within us! Then let that love overflow to all Your creation! Let us love one another as You have loved us! Let Your command of love be our greatest delight!