“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 (NIV)
Imagine with me, it’s the night just before you are arrested for a capital crime that you did not commit, your last meal is set on the table before you. Got the picture? You look around, see the traitor that is going to betray you. Now, may I ask you, what would be the last thing on your mind at a time like that? Wash his feet? Come on, give me a break. That man is a piece of scum, a thief (of long standing), and now a snitch. Wash his dirty feet? Not on your life! The rascal deserves at least a good beating, certainly not a foot washing or to share a meal with him.
Yet, this is precisely what Jesus did, knowing all along what lay ahead.
Now, before we get too far in our story, let me pause for a moment to interject that although Jesus modeled what it is to be a servant that was not what motivated him. His motivation was love, pure and simple. To put it another way, because of who He was and is, there was no other alternative. It was his nature. In short, everything Christ did is an example, not that He is a purposeful showoff, demonstrating what a good fellow he is, but rather that because He is the essence of love, He could have done no other.
This nature stretches all the way back into eternity, spanning the course of history, and reaches into that same eternity past our last tomorrow.
This is not a dead nature, either. Acts fade. Love endures. Through thick and thin and all the in-betweens, love is persistently present. Always. It never fails. Even in the darkest hours, it never fails.
Now, what is so beautiful to me about this truth is that love always communicates. It is never silent. It never takes an “I’ll just stand by and see what happens” attitude. No, Love get involved.
This is one of the reasons that Jesus is called the logos, or Word. Not only does He speak, He acts. He communicates, always. Look at Jesus, and what do you see? Well, if you don’t see the Word, then you are looking at the wrong Jesus. Everything He did and does, tells you who He is; and, more importantly, who we are not without Him.
This is not just preacher talk, either. It’s a challenge. A challenge to look at the real Jesus and understand what He is all about, and how that affects you.
It does not matter how good you are, or think you are, when you look at Jesus you will always see room for self-improvement. Love does that to you. His love. Not some mamsy-pamsy sentiment, either; but the very essence of love.
It is for these reasons that Maundy Thursday must always precede Easter, not just in the life of Christ, but in ours also; because without love there would have been no Easter, no resurrection for Him or us, either.
Want a sure ticket to Heaven? Try love. It works every time.
Once again, I am with you on this journey; more importantly, however, Love walks alongside us.