April 05, 2012

Jesus' New Command

John 13:1?17, 31-35

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
—John 13:35


Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover meal: lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. As they shared this time together, only Jesus knew this would be his last night with his followers. Only he knew he would soon be arrested and killed.

Suddenly Jesus got up, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin and began washing his disciples’ feet: their rough heels, hammertoes, bunions, and blisters. We read only of Peter’s stuttering objections, but no doubt all the disciples were confused as Jesus performed this servant work.

Setting aside the basin of dirty water, Jesus returned to his place at the table. Then he explained, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Later he added, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” meaning “command.” On this night Jesus gave his disciples the “new command” to love one another as servants.

Is that difficult? Absolutely!

But Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Dear Teacher, you came to earth and became an example for us. Through your words and deeds come wisdom. Grant us the wisdom to be who you call us to be. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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