Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Love Your Neighbor Remix

This passage surprised me because it starts out, “a new command I give you.” 

Granted, I don’t have the Old Testament law memorized, but surely somewhere it talks about loving each other. It can’t all be the how, when, where, why, and what of animal sacrifice. A quick search confirmed I was right. Leviticus 19:18 says to love your neighbor as yourself. 

So what makes Jesus' command “new?” 

The Greek word used here, kainos, has the idea of being fresh or not worn out, as compared to the Greek word neos which would more literally be a new command. Jesus was taking the same old blah-blah message and making it fresh. 

How did He change it up for His disciples and for us today?

When the Old Testament says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” it gives us many examples of how to have a good relationship with your neighbor. 

If you grew up in church, you may remember your childhood Sunday School teacher about now, “Class, who is your neighbor?” 

To which all of the kids respond, “Everyone.” OK, time to leave memory lane and return to reality. 

The Old Testament tells us:
  • Don’t defraud or rob your neighbor. Leviticus 19:13
  • Don’t endanger their life. Leviticus 19:16
  • Don’t sleep with your neighbor’s wife (or husband.) Leviticus 20:10
  • Don’t lie about your neighbor. Deuteronomy 5:20
  • Don’t want what your neighbor has. Deuteronomy 5:21
  • Don’t move the boundary marker between your property and theirs. Deuteronomy 19:14
That all sounds like good advice for us today but, remember, this is the Love Your Neighbor Remix. Jesus went beyond loving your neighbor as yourself and raised the standard to loving one another as He loved us. 

What are some examples of how Jesus showed His love for us? How can we show that love to others?

  • He came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10
  • He prayed for and forgave His enemies. Luke 23:34
  • He was crucified and calls us to be crucified with Him. Galatians 2:20
  • “Greater love has no man than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
  • He rebukes and disciplines those whom He loves. Revelation 3:19
When was the last time you sought out a lost person for the sole reason of sharing the gospel with them? I’ll be honest here – I’m not sure I ever have. Have you laid down your own sense of entitlement and extended forgiveness to someone who has hurt you deeply? With all compassion, humility, and gentleness, have you helped a loved one come out of a lifestyle choice that is not honoring to God?

I don’t know about you, but I think it was easier to just make sure the boundary stone between their property and mine didn’t get moved.

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