Why does Jesus make a claim that His love command is new and unheard of? At first sight Jesus’ love command does not seem to be new at all. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a quote from the Torah written thousands of years ago.
Loving one’s neighbor like oneself mirrors the Golden Rule, which happens to be promoted all over the world and is found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sanskrit tradition, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, just to name a few. However, Jesus’ love command clearly goes beyond the Golden Rule; instead of treating others like oneself, Jesus basically says: treat others as I treat you. And with that, Jesus revolutionizes love by tying it to His person, thereby raising the standard: Dying so that others may live definitely takes love to the next level.
The apostle John remarks in one of his letters (1 John 1:1):
“We saw him (Jesus) with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.”
While the world witnessed God’s Son in the flesh, it had a hard time grasping the phenomenon of God’s love personified in Jesus. God’s love requires a step of faith, because we embrace a mystery we don’t understand. This is the reason why people were mystified when they ran into Jesus during His lifetime on earth, and that’s why people are still puzzled today despite our many discoveries and technical advances. How God loves is a strange concept to the human mind – who would have ever conceived the idea of God becoming a human being to walk in our shoes, to die and set us free? These things are hard to swallow; God’s love simply is mind-blowing!
Let the love of God sweep you up, embrace you, heal you, carry you, and reform you. As you experience Jesus you will learn, one day at a time, how to live well and how to love well; and the world around you will get a taste of the same Jesus who walked this earth 2000 years ago – by seeing Him alive and well inside of you.
“The deepest love, the safest place I’ve found right in the palm of Your hand, my Friend, You carry me through; Jesus, You love me, my Redeemer, my Friend!” (The Deepest Love by Bill & Evelyn Snyder)