Read John 13:1-17 and 31-35.
Love. It’s not complicated. Sometimes we don’t understand it, but it’s not complicated. Jesus tells us very simply what we are to do, and He is our example to follow. Jesus says, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (v.15) He loved His disciples, and He washed their feet. We are called to do the same for each other.
Jesus loved His own deeply and eternally. So “taking the very nature of a servant,” He washed His disciples’ feet because it was something they would easily understand, eventually. (see Philippians 2:6-7) He did the job of a lowly servant for those He loved. This deeply confused the disciples, who naturally assumed their Lord was far above this menial and dirty task, but they would soon see Him do something even greater for them.
Jesus gave the disciples a “new command:” Love each other like Jesus loved you. (v.34) This is a sign that we are of God, if we love one another. (see 1 John 4:12) Loving someone goes beyond being kind to them; it is honestly putting this person before yourself. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Even to the point of giving your life, you are willing to do what’s best for this person.
Many of us say we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, but few love according to Jesus’ standards. This doesn’t mean trying to provide for everyone’s needs, or even every need of one person. That’s God’s job. But it does mean making an effort to see where you can help this person. When we see how much God has loved and forgiven us, we can’t help but love others too. (see Luke 7:47)
Jesus “took off His outer clothing” so He looked like a servant would look back then. David did a similar thing in reverence to God in 2 Samuel 6. Jesus was humble and unconcerned with how He may have looked. He even purposely took on the appearance of a servant to show His love all the more. “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (v.16-17) We are called to do as Jesus did.
It’s interesting to note Jesus taught His disciples this important and core lesson so strongly soon before He was going to be crucified. This, of course, was the ultimate act of love He did for us. When Jesus hung on the cross, He was wrapped in flesh, “being made in human likeness,” to wash the sins of the world. (Phil. 2:7) We are each called to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus, losing our lives for His sake in response to Who He is, our loving Savior and the Son of God. We are called to live in denial of ourselves and love for God and others, focused on Him the whole time. So as Easter comes around and you hear the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for us again, let His all-consuming love push you to worship Him with your actions as well as your words and attitude.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5.
Lord, thank You for Your great love for us! Thank You for proving that love over and over again! Please help us follow You with all of our life, love You with every part of our being, and love others like You have loved us! In Your saving Name i pray Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Amen!