After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples, “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20. This is sometimes referred to as the Great Commission. As followers of Christ, we are all given this work to go out and share the good news.
But all that Jesus commanded included more than spreading the gospel. So, the commission is not the only command. There is another work we are given – a work within ourselves. When Jesus was asked what the Great Commandment was, he responded, “And you shall love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30,31) This showed a total dedication to God.
And yet, Jesus gave what he called a new commandment. He said, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) He told us to love as he loved.
What type of love was that? It was a sacrificial love as described by Paul in Romans 12:1-2 (Phillips) “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him…let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
Peter teaches us how to develop true maturity in 2 Peter 1:5-8. “Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge, and in knowledge, self-control and in self-control, perseverance, and in perseverance, godliness, and in godliness, brotherly kindness, and in brotherly kindness, love. For if these are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If we love him we will keep all of his commandments. John 14:15