Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from John 13:34-35, where the Jesus says,   

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”



A new command? It sounds like the oldest command on the books. Love one another? Isn’t that what everybody tells us to do? Yes, and no. Love. It’s probably the most misunderstood, misused word in human language. Everyone says that they know what love means. They confidently assert that they know what they are trying to do when they are seeking to “love another.” Unfortunately, the truth of what really is happening in the name of love is much different than even our best intentions. Life seems to be an unending litany of people using and mistreating each other all in the name of love. All of us tend to do what is in our best interest and not the interests of those we say that “we love.” So, what is in this new command that will help us? What is unique about Jesus’ words that actually turn His “new command” not just into another thing we can’t do, but a “new opportunity,” a new way that we can live life abundantly.

Here's the BIG difference…It’s in the words “As I have loved you!” That’s what makes this love different than any other discussion about love. It’s about how Jesus loves. It’s about Jesus making His love available to us, available through us. You see, we are the kind of people who seek to love others “the way that WE want to love them.” That’s why our efforts at love and kindness fail. But, it’s not that love fails, it’s that we fail love. Here in this lesson, the embodiment of love, Jesus the Messiah is telling us straight….Love matters, but it is love that He brings, that He embodies, that He makes available to humanity. His love doesn’t avoid or break God’s commandments, His love FULFILLS them. His love seeks what is best for others in all things. He offers that love to us. And when we receive that love by grace through faith, we are to share love ON HIS TERMS ALONE. That’s real love in action. That’s love that lasts.

1 Corinthians 13 is the “love chapter” in the Bible. It says things like “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…it is not proud….Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Yes! Unfortunately, people often read this and forget the most important part…This is the LOVE that God embodied for you in Jesus Christ. It is HIS love. Only when we receive this love as a gift by faith can we begin to share it with others. Our love on our terms, it always fails in the end. This love in Christ…It never fails.That’s why it’s not just a new command, it’s a new opportunity for you and for those whom you wish to love.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to see the uniqueness of your love, in all of its truth and power. Help us to receive and to share it as the gift that it is. AMEN.

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