A Farewell Command From Jesus

Eyewitness: p. 224
Eyewitness Stories: John 13: 33, 35
NIV: John 13:33-35
In Your Bible: John 13: 33-35

After eating the Passover Supper, Jesus told his disciples he was going away. This was a tender time and a confusing time for the disciples. It included a farewell command from Jesus.

How Jesus Loved

Jesus was about to enter a journey alone, and it grieved his heart. He wanted to impart his love to the disciples in way they could show the world.

Jesus loved his disciples:

  • Selflessly – His desire was to give of himself and all he had to those he loved
  • Sacrificially – There was no limit to what his love would give
  • Understandingly – He knew their weaknesses and he still loved them
  • Forgivingly – They had no failures that he would not forgive

Show Your Love

Jesus stated clearly the priority of this command. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV John 13: 34,35).

This new command

  • It is from the Master – and a fundamental command of the Kingdom of God
  • It tells his disciples to love as Christ loved
  • It is the reputation of a follower of Jesus – noted love for one another

These verses in John Chapter 13 are heady ones. Many of the verses require meditation and contemplation to reveal their impact. Yes, the farewell command from Jesus shows his love.

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me so much. Help me love others as you love me.

Questions: How does this command make a difference in how we think, speak, and respond in daily life? When we respond to situations by following Jesus’ final command to love one another, the results may astound us. Compare those results to times you felt the command was too difficult.

What is the Most Important Commandment?

Jesus answered the teacher of the Law, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” (Eyewitness Mark 12:34).

Eyewitness: p. 201

In Your Bible: Deut 6:5,8; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34

Religious leaders often challenged Jesus about what he said: Who to pay taxes to? What about life after death? What is living water? One astute teacher of the Law who seemed to understand more about the truth Jesus was said asked another question. He wanted to know, “Which is the most important commandment”? (Eyewitness Mark 12:28).

He posed his question not to imply that any commandment is little or less important. Rather, which is the first one in God’s eye. In this instance, the religious leaders were trying to capture Jesus in a mistake. But Jesus showed they misunderstood the question altogether.

The Most Important Commandment

Jesus replied, “The most important is, ‘Listen Israel, never forget. The Lord God is our God, the one and only true God. You must love God with all your whole heart, and with all your being, and with all your strength.'” Then he added, “Never seek revenge or carry a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself” (Eyewitness Mark 12:31).

Devout Jew with Phylacteries on head and arm

Devout Jew with Phylacteries on head and arm

Moses ‘ statement, “Listen Israel, and never forget. The Lord our God is the one and only true God” – is the essential creed of Judaism, the Shema said by devout Jews in prayers twice a day. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (Deut 6:5) NASB). These passages of the Shema are contained in little leather boxes which the devout Jew wore on his forehead, forearm, and wrist when at prayer. The requirement for wearing these phylacteries is found in Deuteronomy 6:8. For devout Jews, the Shema is also placed in little cylindrical boxes at each door to remind them of God in His coming out and coming in. *

The Second Commandment is Equally Important

The Eyewitness clarifies how to love your neighbor with love from the heart – no hidden grudges! An area often kept in our heart and not divulged. Jesus brought these two commandments together – a new thing for them to hear. No rabbi had done that before!

The teacher of the Law then said something that showied he understood what Jesus was said……..“Teacher you are right in saying [this] and he added, And to love others is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Eyewitness Mark 12:33).

Jesus encouraged the teacher of the Law. He knew this man had nailed the meaning of what he said. The entire Jewish leadership (Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the Law) now had a lot to ponder, and it challenged them.

Jesus emphasized, “All the Law and the prophets are based upon these two commandments” (Eyewitness Matthew 22:40). Love the one true God and love your neighbor as yourself. Which is the most important – both.

Application: Often we think God’s commands are too hard to keep, to do or both. However, the most important (two) commands for the Jews and Christians remain. These pointed questions to Jesus become great learning opportunities for believers. Jesus brought the love your neighbor into the same importance as loving God.

Prayer: Father, I do love you with all my heart, mind and strength. Help me love my neighbor to show I love you fully.

Question: Why so many commandments? How do we begin to understand God giving us guidance and commands on how to live? 

* The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol 2, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975, p. 279.