Jesus’ Radical Command: Love as He Loved

“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.” – John 13:34, 35 ESV

During the Last Supper, Jesus declared a new command for His disciples – to love one another. This echoes a similar instruction found in Leviticus:

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:18 ESV

So, what sets Jesus’ command apart?

The Gospel of John (Chapter 13) describes Jesus washing His disciples’ feet – a powerful act of service. He, their teacher and Lord, humbled Himself and performed a task typically reserved for servants. This act foreshadows His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, motivated by His profound love.

Jesus calls us not only to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as ourselves but to metaphorically “wash their feet.” We are challenged to humble ourselves, considering others’ needs above our own. This stands in stark contrast to the disciples’ behavior just before Jesus washed their feet, where they argued over whom among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27).

Therefore, the command to love as Christ loved is revolutionary. It’s focused not on the vague concept of “neighbor” but on the family of believers. We are to cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ above all others, demonstrating our discipleship to the world.