"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."1
The day before Good Friday is called "Maundy Thursday." I believe it comes from the Latin mandatum (commandment). It was that day, after Jesus had washed his disciples' feet, that he said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another."
I read about how the "King of Abyssinia who once took a British subject named Cameron prisoner and incarcerated him in the high fortress of Magdala. No cause was stated for his confinement. When Great Britain found out, she demanded an immediate release of her citizen. King Theodore refused.
"According to the story, within days Great Britain sent several thousand soldiers by ship to Magdala. After marching across unfriendly country for many miles, they attacked the fortress and rescued that one British subject. "The expedition took several months and cost the English government twenty-five million dollars. The entire resources of the government were made available in the rescue of only one citizen."
Similarly, because of God's great love for us, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven to earth to rescue you and me from the prison of eternal death (that we actually deserved) by dying in our place to pay the judgment price for our sins.
However, on the day before Jesus suffered an excruciating and agonizing death by being crucified, he gave his disciples and followers a new commandment and that was "that we love one another." This he demonstrated for us on the cross at Calvary.
With tireless regularity Easter comes around year after year as a powerful reminder to all the world that Jesus, the Son of God, loved us so much that he gave his life as a ransom for our sins, so that we could be given a full and free pardon and the gift of eternal life.
There is no greater gift in all of life. There is no greater love in all the world. And because Jesus loved us so much, may God help us to love and forgive others as he has so freely loved and forgiven us. This is his new commandment to you and to me.
Suggested prayer: "Dear Jesus God, how can I ever thank you enough for all you have done for me . . . for dying for my sins and for rescuing me from the pit of hell and giving me the gift of eternal life to be in heaven forever with you. Help me to love others as you have loved me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer, Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John 13:34 (NIV).
Note: If you have never received God's forgiveness and his gift of eternal life, please read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.