“The world will know you are my disciples by the way you love each other” – John 13:35
There is no way to summarize or even comment on the events of Holy Thursday in one post. There is too much. Too much deep and meaningful teaching from our Lord.
Think about it: Washing the disciples’ feet, the Last Supper, the betrayal of Judas, and his last recorded teaching: His final words to us as believers. It is just too much. Please take some time to read for yourself today. This is a sacred day that precipitated your salvation. Do yourself the favor of soaking it in as much as you possibly can.
As I have prayed and meditated over these passages this morning, the one thing that has stood out to me (for the first time,) is Jesus’ command for us to love each other. Upon reading it with fresh eyes, I noticed something I never have before. He commanded us multiple times. He would be rolling along, teaching some great and wonderful insights, and then, almost as an add-on, He would say,”remember, you have to love each other.” And then continue on with His prior train of thought.
Why would He do that? The disciples had lived as family for over 3 years. Some of them were even family to begin with. John and James were brothers. Peter and Andrew were brothers. I think we even had some cousins in there (maybe.) So I am quite sure, even though they were known to argue sometimes, they knew how to love each other. So why was this so important to Him?
I will never profess to know the mind of our Lord. So this is just my theory as I have rolled these teachings around in my head and also as I have experienced these teachings in my own life.
Jesus knew what was coming for this close band of faithful followers: persecution, loss, tragedy, exile. They had hard times ahead that they couldn’t even comprehend on this last bittersweet night. But Jesus did. And He also understood human nature. Jesus understood that many times, when under stress, great anxiety, and even despair, we as humans turn inward and forget to love those closest to us. He knew that under those circumstances we could even be counted on to turn against each other in times of mounting pressure.
Jesus knew that if the church, that began as a family, was to survive – we had to remember to love and care for each other in the bad times, above all else. In my own circle I know this to be true. I have seen many families fall apart due to extreme pressures and stress inducing events. If we don’t actually blame each other, we can certainly take our anger and frustration out on each other, and we inevitably, almost, end up walking away.
So He continued to remind them, “love each other.” Above everything else, sometimes we have to step outside our own emotions and take care of those around us. We have to love each other through these times.
And so, here I am, 2000 years later. His words still echoing through the ages and resonating with my soul. I am no different than the disciples. I have to be reminded daily to love others. Because I continually get caught up in my own issues, and forget what identifies me as a true follower.
You taught us so much on that last night. I pray that everyone who calls themselves a follower will take the time today to come into your presence and relive those events. May we be faithful to Your commands and renewed by Your teachings.
In the Lamb’s name I pray,
For a full account of the events of Maundy Thursday, consider reading
John chapters 13 – 17:
May your souls be filled to overflowing!