Director’s Letter

A New Commandment

Christians are called to love and serve their neighbors according to the example of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Kevin D. Robson

“[Jesus said,] ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another’” (John 13:34).

This issue of Lutherans Engage the World highlights the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in showing mercy that flows from the Gospel of Christ crucified: care for our neighbor’s body and soul in home, congregation and community.

On the night when Jesus was betrayed, the disciples had not yet grasped Christ’s mercy in its totality. In the Upper Room, Jesus humbled Himself (again), washed their dirty feet and then told them to serve each other in the same way. They were mystified, but later they would be brought to understand. In His coming, in His ministry and teaching and miracles, in His suffering at the hands of wicked men, in His Father’s finally forsaking Him on a cross for your sins, Jesus made it possible for you and every other disciple to gaze intensely upon the very foundation of mercy. He has made it known by His love — which is deeper, broader and fuller than any other love. He fulfills compassionate love. He is love. No longer is it only, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Jesus loves all sinners — all people — with a love that is not payment for something owed to them. Forgiven in Him as divine gift, they are to love even when they are not indebted to another. Faithful saints bear the fruit that comes from following Him: love by the willful giving of self, a love that withholds nothing. Such love is a distinguishing mark of those who follow Jesus in a disciplined life of faith, joyfully erupting in works of mercy toward others. Division among Christians presents a stumbling block to unbelievers; love and mercy flowing forth from Christians makes unbelievers stop and think. Such love — love that begins and ends with Jesus — strengthens and encourages every member of Christ’s Body. By faith, we shall then follow Him, through cross and trial and temptation, to love and show His mercy to our neighbor.

In His hands,
Rev. Kevin D. Robson
Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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