the love pattern

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John 13:34-35

Joh 13:34 “I am giving you a new command: Love one another. Just like I have loved you, you should also love one another.

Joh 13:35 By this everyone will come to know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

the love pattern

Two questions came to my mind as I read this text. First, I wondered why the first ἵνα (hina) clause should not be rendered “a new command that…” We had encountered the same combination of the noun ἐντολή (command) and the conjunction ἵνα (that) in John 11:57, and I translated that text as “the Pharisees had given orders that …” But this appears to be an example of an imperatival use of ἵνα. So the word can be replaced with a colon in translation.

My second question was “In what sense is this a new command?” Jesus had taught that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27,35). He taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). He affirmed the Old Testament command that we should love God with our all (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). So, what makes this a new command?

Two things. First, this is a reciprocal command. It is a command to love one another (ἀλλήλων). Secondly, Jesus specifies the pattern of our reciprocal love. We should love each other just like he has loved us.

Lord, help us to follow the love pattern you have set.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary who now lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. If your church or small group would like to hear Jeff speak, you can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
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