In John 13:34-35 Jesus says “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Upon reflection I have to ask, “How is this a NEW commandment? Didn’t Jesus talk about and share love all the time? Then what makes this so NEW?”
Yes, Jesus taught about and lived out love in so many different ways so the way this commandment is NEW is the direction of the love.
Notice that Jesus says we are to love one another and that through loving one another we are disciples of Jesus. The direction of the love is toward the other person. More specifically, the direction of the love is NOT toward Jesus.
Perhaps what makes this a NEW commandment is that Jesus is removing himself from the equation of the direction of love and commanding disciples to love the other person. What is new is that Jesus is removing the requirement of direct affection and love of him (the leader) as proof that the disciple follows the leader.
It is much more common for the leader to say, “direct your love toward me and in this way people will know you are my disciples.” Rather Jesus says the opposite.
The more I come to discover about Jesus the more I am amazed at the constant kenosis (self-emptying) of God in Christ. Jesus came down, was obedient to even the point of death, and then when giving his farewell address to his disciples he says - put one another as the direction of your love.
What does it mean for us in the Church to say, “we love you Jesus” and for Jesus to say, “please direct your love to one another”?