Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment…love one another” (John 13:34).
This “new commandment” Jesus gave is truly amazing when you consider its historical background:
First, there was the Law of Revenge. Before Moses, the law of the land was the law of the jungle. It said, “If you hurt me I’ll hurt you – and then some!” Enemies actively sought ways to settle old scores because revenge wasn’t just acceptable – it was encouraged.
Next, there was the Law of Retribution. In Moses’ time revenge was replaced with retribution which allowed, “An eye for eye, and a tooth for tooth,” but no more (Ex. 20:25). You could do to your enemies only what they’d done to you. That was progress!
Now, there’s the Law of Love. When Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment…love one another,” it was a radically different approach. It meant you didn’t have to get even, you could choose to forgive instead. This new commandment demonstrates the unconditional, sacrificial love God shows to us – then calls us to live the same way!