Fruitful Day 15 Sweet Self Control: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Who is giving the new command? (verse 34)

2) Why is this new command being given? (verse 35)

3) What does love like this look like?

John 13:34-35

34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

Original Intent

1) Who is giving the new command? (verse 34)
These verses are found within a greater conversation Jesus is having with His disciples. He is sitting around the table during His final Passover meal, which was celebrated each year in Jewish history to remember how God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. This pivotal conversation about sacrificial love takes place right before Jesus would be arrested, tried, and crucified as He took on Himself the punishment we all deserve for our sin: Death. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 6:23) Just as God freed Israel from captivity in Egypt, God would offer freedom to each of us from the slavery of sin through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus knew Judas would soon betray Him and hand Him over to the authorities and He knew the cross, and His separation from Father God, was looming. In this conversation, Jesus would predict Peter’s denial of Jesus. All would forsake Him as He paid for the sin of the world. (1 John 2:2) Jesus knew these were among His last moments with His disciples and He is intentionally preparing them for all that would come after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back to Heaven when He would no longer be physically with them. Their focus would need to drastically shift towards loving others with radical humility.

2) Why is this new command being given? (verse 35)
This command is not actually a new command. (1 John 2:7-8) If we look back at Leviticus 19:18, God commanded the Israelites to “not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus is actually calling His disciples to a higher love, a sacrificial and self-giving love. Jesus knows He is about to die on the cross and display the greatest example of love the world has ever seen. He also knows that following His resurrection, He would soon ascend to the right hand of the Father and the disciples would remain to spread the Good News of the gospel through the power of His Spirit. This gospel, purchased by Christ’s sacrifice of death to pay the penalty for our sin, then proven victorious when Christ rose from the grave brings us freedom from shame and sin and complete forgiveness if we choose to accept His gift. (Ephesians 2:8) Jesus is providing for His disciples a command which will set them apart (verse 35) from the unbelieving world they are about to engage with this gospel message.

3) What does love like this look like?
A new kind of humble, generous, self-sacrificing love is what Jesus called His disciples to live out. Even as He spoke His new command, He was preparing to show them exactly what it looked like to love like this. (John 15:12-13) Love was not a new concept, but this love was like nothing the world had ever seen and was utterly impossible without the power of God fueling His people to love like Him. (Galatians 5:22) This love went beyond family and community and extended to the world. Jesus would show His disciples the necessary action required for divine love, self-sacrifice. He would soon die on the cross for the sins of the disciples, and the rest of the world (1 John 2:2), although they had done nothing to deserve it. (Isaiah 53:6) Jesus’ death left no question about how His disciples were to live. They were to put others before themselves, just as He did even though no one deserved His lavish love. This love is not easy, and it’s bigger than His disciples were capable of living out on their own. Yet, through the power of the Spirit of God living inside them, this divine love was an earth shattering, world changing kind of love. This love allowed the gospel to permeate the centuries and bring people into real relationship with Jesus, Love Himself.

Everyday Application

1) Who is giving the new command? (verse 34)
Jesus gives this command in His last hours with His disciples before His death. He took this opportunity to instill His parting wisdom to His disciples as it is the command to love one another that underscores everything He had taught them in the last three years of ministry. (Matthew 22:37-40) As believers today, we should take these parting words seriously, allowing them to shape every action, thought, and word of our everyday lives. The command to love should be ringing in our ears as it surely was for the disciples. Jesus was intentional with His last moments in both actions and words. We should let that intentionality impact us because Jesus calls every believer to “love one another” as we walk in relationship with Him and engage the world around us. (Romans 13:8)

2) Why is this new command being given? (verse 35)
While not actually a historically new command, it is a command the world had never seen on this level of sacrifice and humility prior to Christ. God had always called the Israelites to love their neighbor, but Jesus redefined neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). It was no longer simply those who lived nearby, or thought like them, instead “neighbor” encompassed anyone outside their comfort zone. Jesus’ new command went beyond the small, familiar patterns of life, and He calls us to do the same today. Jesus isn’t simply calling us to love those who look like us, think like us, or live by us. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32) Instead, He is calling us out of our comfort zones and into the hostile world to love all people like Christ loves us. He set a standard through His sacrifice on the cross; as believers, we are to emulate His love. This is the new command!

3) What does love like this look like?
Love seems like such a simple word, one we throw around to reference many different things these days. However, God’s love is not a simple love, it is a fierce, brave, relentless, sacrificial love that calls us to behave and speak differently than those who don’t know Jesus. This love considers what is best for the other person, instead of what is best for us. (Philippians 2:2-4) This love generously sacrifices in light of the example Jesus set for us by sacrificing His life even when we actively rebelled against Him by loving our sin and ourselves more than Him. (Romans 5:8) I was fortunate enough to visit a traveling Auschwitz museum in Kansas City recently and a statement from a survivor of the camp resonated with me. He said, “Great crimes start with little things… like you don’t like your neighbor.” As I reflected on those words, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how Jesus calls us to love by the power of His Spirit. Love is not always easy, and it’s a choice we must make because of the One who first loved us, but when we don’t make that choice, the consequences are huge for us and those around us. There are times our instinct will not be to love sacrificially, and in those moments, we must choose to utilize self-control and love as Jesus. We are called to surrender to the power of the Spirit of God inside us as believers. It’s through His work in us that we are able to love like Him. The unbelieving world is watching believers in Jesus, and when we choose love, we unite as believers and bring unbelievers to Jesus. It is our job to be the living breathing example of Jesus and nothing declares Jesus more than when we love one another.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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