“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” (John 13:1)
Jesus was celebrating the Passover with His apostles. Luke writes that on the way to the upper room the apostles argued about which of them would be greatest in the kingdom Jesus promised.
What a shock it must have been when Jesus assumed the attire of a slave and washed their feet!
Having washed their feet Jesus asked them the question “Do you know what I have done to you?” His question is answered in the words quoted above. The most dynamic characteristic of Jesus is love. He had loved these men for three years in ways they had never been loved before in their entire lives.
Jesus also answered His question by telling them that He had given them an example. If He as their Lord and Teacher had washed their feet, they should wash each other’s feet. Then He made the connection between foot washing and love by giving them a New Commandment: they were to love one another in the same ways He loved them. This is the absolute credential that they are His disciples.
A New Commandment directed them to a New Commitment. Each of them had made a commitment to Jesus, but now they were to make a commitment to each other. This new commitment established a New Community. We call it the church.
Secular people said of the early church, “Behold how they love one another!” If they made that charge today about our churches, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
Oh Lord, make it so!
Dick Woodward, 05 April 2012