The Love Commandment “I give you a new commandment: Love each another. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.” – John 13:34 (CEB)
This reading from John’s Gospel brings us to the night Jesus gathered with the disciples in the Upper Room. Scripture tells us that Judas had already been provoked to betray Jesus. The betrayal would soon lead to our Lord’s death on a cross. But Jesus washed the feet of every disciple who was present, even the feet of Judas.
In Jesus’s time, there was a constant need to wash feet. Roads were made of dirt, and people wore sandals made of rope and leather. Sweat-inducing heat, nearly bare feet, and a dirt road made for a messy combination. It was normal practice for a guest to wash his or her own feet, or a servant to wash the feet of the guest. Many rabbis thought this task was so low that it was unacceptable to have a Jewish person do it. This was something only a servant should do.
Yet, on the final Thursday of his life, Jesus turned everything upside down. He took a bowl and knelt down to wash feet that were dirty from the roads of Palestine. Jesus took on the duties of a servant, but instead of showing weakness, he showed strength. Later on he shared the new commandment to “love each other.”
The love that came from Jesus and went out to others was a surprising kind of love. It was a love that catches others off guard. As followers of Jesus, we are called to share this love in similar ways with all those around us.
How can we share this surprising love? Maybe we reach out to someone we have had an argument with? Perhaps we swallow our pride and admit we are wrong? Maybe we accept all those we come into contact with? The possibilities are endless. Might we always express this love!
Peace to you, Scott