3 Truths About How We’re To Love One Another.
When’s the last time you washed someone’s feet?
In John 13, Jesus’ teaches a valuable lesson on servant leadership. Even though He was Lord and Master over His disciples, Jesus chose humility, washing His students’ feet.
Immediately after, there’s a unique exchange between John and Jesus, that leads to Jesus excusing Judas from the group. None of the disciples knew what was about to happen, but Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him that very night.
Once Judas leaves, Jesus continues teaching His disciples:
“34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How could Jesus’ disciples possibly fulfil this new commandment? For us living in 2017, after 2 millennia of church splits and denominational divisions, how can we fulfil what Jesus is requesting?
There’s 3 truths found in Jesus’ words that can help us:
1. This Love Is Not Optional.
First, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another…” (13:34)
If we look at Old Testament reference, the 10 Commandments were not optional in any way. Biblically, the word commandment in itself is never considered optional. But let’s go a little further.
In Matthew 22, some Teachers of the Law tried to test Jesus on the commandments:
“35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here, Jesus references loving our neighbour as ourselves. But in John 13, Jesus has really raised the bar – the new commandment is to love each other as Jesus loves. This may seem overwhelming, but this is our calling as Followers of Jesus.
2. This Love Should Reflect Jesus’ Love
Next Jesus says, “…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (13:34)
This begs the question, “How did Jesus show love?” Maybe the disciples even asked themselves this question as they tried to carry out this new commandment?
Here’s what we see in the Gospel accounts:
- He chose to disciple everyday people: Unlike the other Rabbis of the day who were always looking for the brightest and best.
- He chose to live life with His disciples: He gave His disciples the gift of time, teaching them as they encountered ministry and life together.
- He chose to rebuke His disciples: Like the rebuke the disciples received when they tried to prevent children from seeing Him, Jesus drew the line.
- He chose to serve His disciples: Back to foot washing…
Check out John 13:12-16:
“12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
And let’s not forget Judas! Jesus could have excluded him before the foot-washing, but He didn’t. Jesus chose to wash the feet of the man who was about to betray Him! Now that’s humility!
3. This Love Produces Results
Then Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13:35)
You may have heard the famous worship song, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love“. This song bothers men a bit. Though it references the passage found in John 13, its not completely what Jesus said.
Jesus said, They will know “…that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This song generally leads people down a road of loving to the poor and marginalised outside the church (which is definitely important). But Jesus is talking about us (Christians) loving us (Christians) and the world looking at our relationships in wonder.
If Christians can wash each other’s feet (metaphorically serving everyone, including those who have betrayed us) all people will know that we are different! When the slate is wiped clean before a mark is ever written on it, that’s revolutionary love!
That’s the new commandment love that Jesus desire’s for all of us!
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
Considering the accounts found in the Gospels, how did Jesus show His disciples love?