Recently I been battling with some challenges that was caused by the actions of another brother in Christ. Initially I was very angry and wanted to let him know what I really thought. But as I started to go to God in prayer, God started to speak to me as to how I should handle this. During this time I was invited to speak at a church from 1 John 3:10-24.
As I was preparing for this message I realised this message was not for that church it was really for me! I will try to put words to my thoughts over the next six posts.
I titled these: The essence of Christianity – 1 John
I believe John is giving a detailed explanation of the new commandment given to us by Jesus, so it is important that we understand John 13, especially John 13:21 – 38, in order to understand this better.
There are 3 key things to observe from John 13:
1. Jesus troubled in his spirit
Perhaps knowing this to encourage and comfort Jesus, John the disciple whom he loved is leaning on the chest of Jesus.
2. John’s location and placement when this commandment was given
– From leaning on the chest of Jesus John could hear every word better than others
– More than the words he felt the heart beat of Jesus as He shared these things
I believe that is why John major’s on this in such a way that others don’t, he refers to “Love one another” more than 10 times when the rest of the NT in total only refers to it 3 times!
3. The atmosphere and context
Jesus predicts the betrayal that would lead to his cruel death at the hand of the one who has been taking care of his finances and eating the bread from his hands.
Immediately after explaining the betrayal he gives the new commandment in Vs 34 – as if to say, even a betrayal like this should not be a stumbling block and he explains:
“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.”
Then he predicts Peter’s denial 13:36-38
So the new commandment to love one another is sandwiched between betrayal and denial – not a great celebration party or a honeymoon! It is easy to say “I love you” on honeymoon – but in the middle of betrayal and denial?
There are Two important things to note is this:
1. A NEW Commandment:
– Not a renovation of the old once – but a new one
– Not replacing any of the old but adding a new one
2. Through this Jesus was also proving who He was
Let me explain. Who gave the 10 commandments? God – right? Who has the authority to add? Only God, so by adding a new one – Jesus is proving He is God.
So this is not an option or recommendation – it is a command to be obeyed! In fact in my view this should be taken more serious than any of the others because – no other commandment is explained and expanded like this one. Because God wanted us to understand it fully and never say – oh sorry I didn’t understand what that meant!