New Commandment

Jesus said that he did not come to destroy the Old Testament (the law and the prophets), but came to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). The most important commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. He not only stressed the continuing validity of these principles, but also added a new dimension to them. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, he stressed the point that “neighbor” means all people, regardless of race, creed, or nationality (Luke 10:25-37). His new commandment is “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples” (John 13:34). He also stressed that love is action, saying, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”(Matt. 5:16 ).

The Gospels show Jesus’ conception of love in action. He is the good shepherd who knows and cares for his sheep, even laying down his life for them. He healed all who came to him; he had compassion for the lost and the burdened. He came to befriend and save sinners (Lk. 5:32; 7:34); to bring salvation to the world; to offer himself as the last sacrifice for the sins of all (Matt. 20:28; Rom 5:6; Heb. 9:27-28; Heb. 10:12-14). This kind of love is necessary, for he who does not love in this deeper sense does not know God, for God is love (I John 4:8). Love is the greatest gift. It endureth all things; it never fails (I Cor. 13:1-8).