A Singular Command
Commands from leaders have come and gone throughout history, but this one really stands out: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13 NASB) Think about Leaders and commands.
The word of a reigning monarch can be a life and death matter. Artaxerxes could sentence someone to death just for asking for an audience with him. The Caesars passed themselves off as deities and used their power to sentence hundreds of thousands of prisoners and Christians to death. There was Adolph Hitler, who orchestrated the Holocaust, and Stalin, who commanded that dissidents be “purged” from society. Despotic leaders throughout history have given commands to commit acts of war, atrocities, and utter mayhem. There have been countless commands from Kings and tyrants which only spread fear and dread among their subjects.
With Absolute Power Comes…
If you were given absolute power over the entire nation, and could do whatever you wanted to without fear of penalty or reprisal, what sort of commands would you issue? (And before you answer that, remember that Winston Churchill said, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”) You might start out as a benevolent dictator, but be careful: Leaders tend to gravitate towards governance that is self-interested. Often ideals that they say are intended for good actually end up benefitting themselves. (Just look at Congressional perks and programs!)
Religious Power is Not Exempt
Even in the name of religion, there are those who misuse power for evil purposes. Cult leaders like Bob Jones and David Koresh gave commands which led followers to their doom. There have been religious leaders who asked for money, or even other men’s wives. Some have commanded their followers to commit suicide. And there are religious leaders today who command their followers to strap on a bomb and commit both murder AND suicide. Commands given by such men are corrupt at best, lunacy at worst…
Of course, leaders also pass laws AGAINST all manner of crime. Our legal system penalizes people for doing wrong. So, when you read what Jesus commands, it kinda sets you back on your heels for a minute. This commandment from Jesus is remarkable not only in his time and culture, but in all times and in all cultures.
As King of Kings and Lord of Lords, I guess he could command us to do anything, and we’d ultimately have to submit. But get this: He commands us to love one another. “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” You heard him. Love one another today. And I guess pretty much every day! And by the way — if you are reading this, I love you, and I just prayed for you this morning. Boom!
A Command Worth Following
Watch the ones who govern; just look out at all the lands Where people rule with might and power, issuing commands; The King of Kings came down to earth and walked across His land Without the Secret Service or a military band... He dressed in humble garb. There was no scepter in His hand. His sermon was his life. He wasn't digital. He had no Brand, But we still hear His great commandment, just the way He planned. It's short and to the point, not very hard to understand: "As I have loved you, Love each other. This is my command." The world will fall. Will Fall. But Jesus and His words will stand.
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