Out with the Old, In with the New

Out with the Old, In with the New

March 28, 2024

… love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 NIV

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

We can look at the Old Testament in very condescending ways when we realize how different Jesus has made things for us. The Old Covenant (probably an easier title to understand) is an account of the way God was working with His creation that had been irretrievably broken by sin. He was working to bring mankind back to Him and keep the promises of the Savior who would come to crush Satan under His feet. But there was a long way to go. Sin multiplied quickly and darkly. The Jewish people are the ones God created through Abram’s line, the one man who God saw who listened when he spoke. Before Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, God called him from his home in Ur, an area steeped in idolatry like the rest of the world. Abram had no knowledge of the true God or His plans to choose a special people for Himself, nor did he know that the Savior of the world would be among his descendants. But Genesis 12 says he recognized the voice of God and followed anyway.

Abram obeyed and God began His plan. The world in general got worse and worse. It was bleaker and more violent than we can imagine by the time Moses introduced the law. While the law seems rigid and harsh to us, it was full of wisdom and direction for that day. It protected women and children from the common abusive practices of the day, protected slaves from mistreatment, and had principles for justice in place so that everything didn’t simply go to the rich and powerful. Part of the law told the Israelites they were to love their neighbor as themselves. This was a standard far above the way the rest of the world lived. God’s way has always been better.

But then came Jesus. The night before He was going to die for the sins of the world and then resurrect in power, establishing the new covenant between humankind and God, He gave a new command. This one – the final one from God’s forever King – was that we should love one another just as Jesus has loved us. That is an infinitely higher standard. It is THE way of love. Many of us do not love ourselves well. We can make all kinds of exceptions and argue about what it means to love someone like we love ourselves and who our neighbor even is.

But loving one another – of proximity or likeness – the way Jesus has loved me? It’s not easy, but it’s simple. It’s the only satisfying way. I love holding nothing back, whether or not they love me, whether or not they deserve it. That is how Jesus loves me.

  • Who am I unwilling to love this way? Jesus, help me see the truth about myself and how I must love.