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John 13:31-35, Laws of Love

Key Verse

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
— John 13:34

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, May 19, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Main Idea: All of God’s laws are laws of love.

Until this point, Jews had been living under the covenant God made with Abraham, and the commandments God gave through Moses. Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy painstakingly lay out all of God’s laws, ordinances, and rituals. God made sure there was no question how they were to live. The laws, when followed according to God’s command and intent, would ensure the long and happy survival of God’s people.

Over the centuries, however, those laws intended for the protection and governing of God’s people were re- interpreted and mis-interpreted, so that they became barely recognizable as laws of love. The laws were used to oppress, imprison, punish, and enslave.

Jesus’ arrival marked a renewal of God’s loving commandments. Succinctly put, all of God’s laws boiled down to this: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” When this law comes before all others, then God’s commandments can be followed to empower, uplift, and protect one another.

History tends to repeat itself, of course. From the crusades to the inquisition to the holocaust, Christians seem to abuse and misuse God’s laws of love to oppress instead of deliver. In light of our current political climate, I fear we may be returning again to a time when people who are “not-us” are being targeted and oppressed. This might be a good time to look again at Jesus’ actions and words, and ask ourselves what we might do to support God’s laws of love and the people who need God’s love (and ours) the most.

How can our own daily “laws” be grounded in love? What do you think?


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John 13:31-35

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