“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 CSB)
The Passover celebration for Jesus and His disciples began normally that evening until Jesus took a towel. What followed amazed His disciples, and it obviously even upset some of them. He washed their feet. His example was intended to teach them that love and serving go together. Then, later in the evening, Jesus gave them His new commandment to love one another as He had loved them.
We sometimes overlook an important point in these interactions. Who were those included in having their feet washed? We can understand mostly what Jesus did, this side of the story at least, but what we sometimes do not notice so much was that Judas Iscariot was included among those whose feet Jesus washed. It is important that we notice this.
“Agape” love is indiscriminate. We don’t pick and choose those were are going to love and serve. We love because the Holy Spirit dwells within us prompting us to love and to serve, and we cannot simply love some and not love others. To take that route is to go a way Jesus did not teach. We are to love our enemies as much as we love one another. That, you see, takes love to another level. It’s easy to love those who love us, and anybody can do that; but loving those who do not love us very much and who may, in fact, hate us or wish to harm us or our faith in some way takes a love that is beyond ourselves to produce. That is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. We are dependent on Him to help us do this. So, obeying the commandment Jesus gave us requires that we depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us.
We may not like the “Judas Iscariots” of the world or their actions, but “agape” love requires that we love them as much as we love anyone.
Lord, We recognize, or at least we think we do, the difficulty of loving others as much as You have loved us. We only know that apart from You and Your Spirit, we do not have this capacity, so we ask You to fill us with Your Spirit and enable us to carry out this commandment. Amen.