Love One Another
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 NKJV
[Jesus] discourses with [His disciples] concerning the great duty of brotherly love: You shall love one another. Judas was now gone out, and had proved himself a false brother; but they must not therefore harbour such jealousies and suspicions one of another as would be the bane of love: though there was one Judas among them, yet they were not all Judases. Now that the enmity of the Jews against Christ and his followers was swelling to the height, and they must expect such treatment as their Master had, it concerned them by brotherly love to strengthen one another's hands. [Two] arguments for mutual love are here urged:-
1. The command of their Master: A new commandment I give unto you. He not only commends it as amiable and pleasant, not only counsels it as excellent and profitable, but commands it, and makes it one of the fundamental laws of his kingdom; it goes a-breast with the command of believing in Christ, 1 Jn. 3:23; 1 Pt. 1:22. It is the command of our ruler, who has a right to give law to us; it is the command of our Redeemer, who gives us this law in order to the curing of our spiritual diseases and the preparing of us for our eternal bliss. It is a new commandment; that is, (1.) It is a renewed commandment; it was a commandment from the beginning (1 Jn. 2:7), as old as the law of nature, it was the second great commandment of the law of Moses; yet, because it is also one of the great commandments of the New Testament, of Christ the new Lawgiver, it is called a new commandment; it is like an old book in a new edition corrected and enlarged. This commandment has been so corrupted by the traditions of the Jewish church that when Christ revived it, and set it in a true light, it might well be called a new commandment. Laws of revenge and retaliation were so much in vogue, and self-love had so much the ascendant, that the law of brotherly love was forgotten as obsolete and out of date; so that as it came from Christ new, it was new to the people. (2.) It is an excellent command, as a new song is an excellent song, that has an uncommon gratefulness in it. (3.) It is an everlasting command; so strangely new as to be always so; as the new covenant, which shall never decay (Heb. 8:13); it shall be new to eternity, when faith and hope are antiquated. (4.) As Christ gives it, it is new. Before it was, Thou shalt love thy neighbour; now it is, You shall love one another; it is pressed in a more winning way when it is thus pressed as mutual duty owing to one another.
2. The example of their Saviour is another argument for brotherly love: As I have loved you. It is this that makes it a new commandment-that this rule and reason of love (as I have loved you) is perfectly new, and such as had been hidden from ages and generations. Understand this, (1.) Of all the instances of Christ's love to his disciples, which they had already experienced during the time he went in and out among them. He spoke kindly to them, concerned himself heartily for them, and for their welfare, instructed, counselled, and comforted them, prayed with them and for them, vindicated them when they were accused, took their part when they were run down, and publicly owned them to be dearer to him that his mother, or sister, or brother. He reproved them for what was amiss, and yet compassionately bore with their failings, excused them, made the best of them, and passed by many an oversight. Thus he had loved them, and just now washed their feet; and thus they must love one another, and love to the end. Or, (2.) It may be understood of the special instance of love to all his disciples which he was now about to give, in laying down his life for them. Greater love hath no man than this, ch. 15:13. Has he thus loved us all? Justly may he expect that we should be loving to one another. Not that we are capable of doing any thing of the same nature for each other (Ps. 49:7), but we must love one another in some respects after the same manner; we must set this before us as our copy, and take directions from it. Our love to one another must be free and ready, laborious and expensive, constant and persevering; it must be love to the souls one of another. We must also love one another from this motive, and upon this consideration-because Christ has loved us. See Rom. 15:1, 3; Eph. 5:2, 25; Phil. 2:1-5. - Matthew Henry