Jesus’ New Command
MAUNDY THURSDAY, APRIL 1 | JOHN 13:31-35
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Let’s take a moment to review the story of Jesus and his disciples in the upper room. They 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.” They were to love one another as servants.
Like servants? That is a difficult command. But Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Loving others by humbly committing yourself to their service is no easy task. It is certainly not inherent to our human nature. But by the example of Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit, God assures us that we are able.
Dear Teacher, thank you that you came to earth and became an example for me. Grant me the wisdom to be who you call me to be. Amen.
—WRITTEN BY JOHN VAN SCHEPEN