Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Kind of Love by Dudley Hall

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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 23:34-35 (ESV)
Jesus is the ultimate model for life, but there are some aspects of his journey that we cannot imitate. "Where I am going you cannot come." (vs. 33b) We cannot go to the cross and pay the penalty of the sins of mankind. We cannot follow him to the grave and be the firstborn from the dead. Those are some of the unique features of Jesus that we are not expected to imitate. But there is one overarching dynamic we can expect to reproduce just as he demonstrated it.
We can love like he did and does.  His new commandment was different from all previous ones. The Old Testament had instructed the covenant people to love God with all their heart, but even the best of them couldn't love the way Jesus did.  He could love greater than any man because he was freer than any man. The obstacle for all of us is our preoccupation with ourselves. We are bent inward. We can't envision life without self being the center. Every action and thought seems to get back to how it affects us. Jesus was totally conscious of being unconditionally loved by the Father. He had no need of self-image improvement. He could give himself away to others because he relationship with the Father was eternally secure and indestructible.

     Later in the discourse he gives the key to unspeakable joy.
Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:9-10 (ESV)
The key to being able to love like Jesus loved is being loved like he was loved. The encouraging news is that we have been loved like that. God the Father has bestowed the same love on those in Christ as he has upon Christ himself. Now believing that and ingesting it into our consciousness is our task. It seems too good to be true.
We can identify with the Israelites who stood at the edge of the Promised Land and doubted. God had said it was theirs for the taking and they couldn't believe it. Might we stand on the edge of an all-conquering love and miss it because it is too good to believe? We don't feel loved so we conclude we aren't.
As we venture into this paradise of love, we discover that the love of God has been poured into us by the Holy Spirit and we are actually able to live without bending everything to our benefit. We can truly be more concerned about the interest of others above our own. This is so different that Jesus says it will be the distinguishing mark of his followers. Wouldn't that be refreshing? Instead of trying to make ourselves distinctive by being strange in doctrine or behavior, we could just be recognized as those who can love like no other on earth.


  1. Loving like Jesus did is the Key, it truely is the Key!

  2. Brother, we can't love like Jesus did... but if we would stop trying to imitate Him and allow Him to live His Life in and through us, then He would love with His Love... rather than us trying to do it ourselves. Followers of Jesus express Him.


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