A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35
On this day, Christians around the world prepare for Easter by recalling the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples. Traditionally this day is referred to as Maundy Thursday, which at first glance may appear to be a misspelling! However, this seemingly odd phrase actually gives us a window into the very heart of Easter and the lives we live as Christian disciples.
Maundy is an English word derived from the Latin word for commandment. As such, this is the day we as Christians remember the new commandment that Jesus gave to his apostles: “as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In this single sentence, Jesus gives his followers a model of love and the expected way for them to love one another and the world around them.
In many ways, Holy Week is the explanation of Jesus’ phrase “as I have loved you.” When we ask how Jesus loves us, we need not look any further than the events of this week. On the cross of Christ we see the love of God on full display! When we look to the cross we see the Son of God who offers himself for the life of the world (Jn. 6:51). We see a picture of humility, where the Son of God “made himself nothing” and was “obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). Yet we also see the Son of God exulted to the highest place, triumphant over sin and death, ruling and reigning on high and beckoning us to join him in this radical and beautiful journey of love.
Jesus models for us self-sacrificing, humble, and radical love, and he invites us to join him in this way of life. In fact, he says this is the primary way that we will be identified in the world as his disciples! Your humble love for others is the primary way you show your faith in Jesus to be credible, attractive, and true.
As we look at our world today, we see a world that desperately needs this kind of love. With each passing day it seems that we find yet another way to divide, accuse, and attack one another. Our culture is overflowing with anger and hatred towards those we are called to love. Yet we as Christians are meant to be the aroma of Christ in the midst of this chaos! We must show the world a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians. 12:31). Jesus has loved us with an unimaginable love. Let us be known as people who love one another and the world around us in the same way!
Prayer: Father, thank you for the love shown to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. May we love others as he has so faithfully loved us.
Application: How can you love someone else this week with the same love Jesus has shown you?
Related Readings: Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:11