03/23/2016 in: Food for Thoughton
Little children, yet a little while I am with you.
You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you,
‘Where I am going you cannot come.’
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.
By this all people will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
Supper had been eaten. The cup had been blessed. Fellowship had been shared. Betrayal had been foretold.
After Judas left Jesus and the other disciples at the table in the upper room, some of my favorite parts of the Holy Week narrative take place. They are common, familiar, lowly, home-centered—perhaps that is why they prick me especially poignantly, as I am a full time homemaker and homeschooling mama of four small children. I am daily surrounded by the common and the lowly. Morsels of bread, washing off dirt, and commands to love one another are tools of my own trade.
What Jesus says to His disciples grabs my attention: not just love one another, but prefaced. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Was this shockingly new to the disciples? Had they not known that Jesus was preaching a gospel of love during His ministry? Did they not see Him loving others already? How was this new? And why does He take the time to say this now, when chaos is about to ensue? When squabbles arise or tempers begin to bubble, this is actually a phrase I speak over my children—love one another. I whisper it in little ears at the table, I call it out loudly from the kitchen window to kids running on the grass, I repeat it to each one of these little people around me who are image-bearers and baptized members of Christ. They too are little disciples of this Lord. How quickly they lose sight of what it means to love one another… how quickly I lose sight of it… how quickly even the inner circle of Jesus lost sight of it.
Had the disciples ever not seen Jesus act in love? Had they not been taught the Golden Rule? Of course the disciples knew that Jesus had love for others, and that they were to have acts of love as they followed Him. Even in the law of Moses, they were told to love their neighbor. But the standard seems to be clarified, if not changed, here in the book of John. Rather than loving their neighbor as themselves, according to Leviticus 19:18, the standard for sacrificial love is now no longer the standard of self—rather, it has become the standard of Christ. He said in John 13:34, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Is this what makes the commandment new?
No longer love others as you love yourself.
Now, love others as Christ loved you.
Post-crucifixion and post-resurrection, we can see plainly how tall an order that is.
How will you embrace this commandment today?
How will you raise the standard of loving your neighbors, so that it isn’t about you, but rather about Christ?
Where is God asking you to give of yourself?
What cross is Jesus asking you to pick up, as you follow Him?
And what is the foot-washing that you will do, in His image and for His glory, during this Holy Week?
Melissa Joy seeks to grow in grace and wisdom alongside her husband Steven (Olive Tree’s VP of Operations), while pursuing joyful domesticity by nurturing her home and family. The joy she finds in her family, homemaking, music, writing, ministering to those in grief, and seeking to be a pillar of loving strength in her home can be seen unveiled at Joyful Domesticity.