“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:1-5
In the past two posts we’ve marveled at God’s great love for His children and examined His life-giving commandment to believe in Jesus Christ Whom He has sent. This week we’ll look at how He desires for us to love as He has loved us and how our belief in Him should manifest itself in our lives.
The first Bible story that my son Jude really connected with is the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet. He loved that page in the Jesus Storybook Bible and frequently asked me to read it. He would empty out toy baskets and bring them to me and put my feet into them and pretend to wash them. God used that to help me understand even more clearly just how tangible and practical Jesus’ love for us really is. It follows that the way I love should be that way, too.
We can’t summon up this kind of love in and of ourselves. Jesus gives the new commandment after He washes the disciples’ feet:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to 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
Then, as they walk to the garden where He’ll be betrayed, He shares this:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
It’s likely you’ve tried to love and bear fruit apart from the Vine. And it’s a guarantee that it didn’t work out so well. But have you seen what happens when you’re rooted in Him and secure in His love?
It could look like being able to say “I forgive you” when someone hurts you deeply…and mean it.
It may look like not feeling uber concerned about how your apartment or house looks and being able to share the space with others for some quality time together.
It might entail driving across town to see someone or deliver something even if doing that isn’t the particularly convenient.
I could definitely keep going, but I’ll let you ponder it for yourself. Abiding in the Vine for you, today, might look like _____________.
Whatever it may be, may you be able to look long and joyfully at the King of the Universe. May you praise Him for being the Suffering Servant Who, before His crucifixion, knelt down and washed the feet even of his betrayer as well as the eleven others who would flee during His sufferings.
We who believe are filled with the Spirit of Christ Jesus Who enables us to walk as He did.
The Spirit continues to instruct and lead us into the truth through John’s later writings, so I’ll close with this passage from 1 John:
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
1 John 3:16-24