Love Each Other As Jesus Has Loved Us
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not everyone was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
John 15:12 -14
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
Have you ever thought about what it really meant for Jesus to wash his disciples’ feet? Having walked with Him for three years and seen him work wonders and heard him speak, these men close to our Lord were scandalized by the act! That their leader, their teacher, their Lord, would do such a thing!
As humans, there is a temptation to see menial service as lowly and perhaps even dirty and uncouth. We desire leaders who are pristine and more than human. We have “super” heroes. We love royalty, power, position, prosperity, pageantry and pomp. But Jesus rejected all those things.
Isaiah 53:2-3 tells us: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Our Lord’s entire life, from birth until death, was devoted to sacrifice and service. John tells us that Jesus KNOWING that God had put Jesus in authority over all things…. Jesus in that knowledge knelt and took upon himself the filthy work of the lowliest household servant. Washing not only the feet of the ones who claimed unfailing loyalty, but also the feet of the one he knew was about to betray him. All but one of the disciples would be absent at the cross. But our Lord did not only wash that one’s feet. He washed feet that would tread paths of betrayal and denial, feet that would run in cowardice and compromise, feet belonging to those who would abandon him.
Our Lord’s love and service did not waver or lessen depending on his disciples’ failures. His service was based not on their deservedness, but sprang from His grace and His love.
And so our service must be. Our Lord has not called his church to reach the worthy or none would be reachable. Our Lord has not called us to love the deserving or none would be loved. Our Lord has not called us to serve only those on the right side or none would be served. None of us is worthy. None of us is right in and of ourselves. All of our thinking or opinions fall short of the glory and perfection of God. And our God served. Our God loved. Our God’s character of love moved Him to initiate. He did not call for us to become worthy on our own. He came to us as we were. He comes to us as we are. He came and served those unworthy of his service. He came and sacrificed himself for those unworthy of His sacrifice.
Beloved, we who are in Christ, must love and serve like the one who has loved and served us. Without reservation, without hesitation, without judgmental consideration of the worthiness or like-mindedness of those we are serving. For he has commanded that we love in the same manner He has loved. Those truly in Christ will indeed be moved by the Spirit of Christ within them to love in the same manner, for the Christ who loves and serves is within them.
And, beloved, if we through reading this, have been reminded that we have not loved and not served in the same attitude and manner of Christ, we can be assured that this same Christ is ready, willing and able to once again come to us as we are to make us as He is. Amen.
Pastor Brian TorresMay 1, 2021