READ JOHN 13
In John 13 we’re given another commandment to follow. “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” Jesus loves everyone. He would turn no one away during His time on earth. He preached to and healed many who were considered the scum of the earth. His love for mankind was born when He entered His mother’s womb and was born in a lowly stable. He went through life sharing, listening, showing compassion, teaching, bringing relief to everyone He came into contact with. He did so out of pure love.
In early writings about this new group of Christians formed after the resurrection of Jesus, particularly the Apology of Justin Martyr, we have a description of how they lived – how they cared for one another’s physical, mental and spiritual needs. They watched out for each other. They had each other’s back. They shared with those of lesser means. They watched over widows and the elderly. They made sacrifices for each other.
This is what Jesus was talking about when He told us to love as He loved. In John 13, we see Jesus washing His disciples’ feet – a task reserved for servants. In this very act He’s demonstrating selfless love. This is the kind of love He wants us to have for each other. This is what He meant when He told us to be lights in the world. He wants us to shine as examples for them as well.
Somewhere along the line, I think we’ve lost that kind of love. With a society that is currently turning inward – cocooning – isolating themselves – not interacting – we are bound to see that kind of love slip away. We need to be with others. It’s part of our human makeup to be social individuals. Caring for each other is part of that interaction.
There are those who go to visit the sick and suffering. There are people who go the extra mile to help their neighbors shovel the sidewalk or help them carry their groceries. There are folks who do these things not out of love, but what they might get out of it. The kind of love Jesus is referring to is that of a servant’s heart.
Let’s make it a goal, during these final days of Lent, to let our light shine. Let people know that we are different than those who are self-serving. Let them know that we’re willing to give everything for those around us, because Jesus first loved us.