Friday 18 August 2017

Bible Book:

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” (v. 34)

John 13:31-38 Friday 18 August 2017

Psalm: Psalm 63:1-8



These few verses are dominated by two words: "glory" and "love",words that are central to the Gospel of John's understanding ofJesus. "Glory" is a difficult word to define - it comes from theGreek word, 'doxa', from which we get 'doxology'. It is a qualitythat makes God worthy of praise and for John that glory isincarnate in the person of Jesus: "we have seen his glory, theglory as of a father's only son" (John1:14). So the whole of Jesus' life and ministry has been a signand expression of the glory of God, but now, on the eve of whatlooks like total failure, that glory is especially present.

Just as Jesus shares in the glory of God, so his disciples willparticipate in the life he offers. But there is only one way forthat to happen, the way of love. The phrase "a new commandment"became 'mandatum novum' in Latin and gave its name to MaundyThursday, when this passage is always read. But in one sense it isnot a new commandment; after all, Leviticus 19:18 urges the Jewish people to"love your neighbour as yourself". What is new here is that just asself-giving, sacrificial love has been the foundation of Jesus'incarnation, so now mutual love is the only way in which thedisciples can follow Jesus and share in his life with God.

And still the disciples -especially Peter - don't quite get it.Peter is full of bravado but Jesus sees how frail he really is; hewill have to go through the chastening experience of denial (John17:15-27) and forgiveness (John21:15-19) before he is ready to respond to Jesus'challenge.

If Christians have found it hard to follow the apparently simpleinstruction of Jesus to wash each other's feet, they have found iteven harder to follow his injunction to love each other. The factthat John's Gospel makes this instruction so central to the storysuggests that even the early Christians were finding it hard tolive together in a Christ-like way.

To Ponder

  • Where do you see 'the glory of the Lord' in the life of theChurch and the world?
  • What has been your most inspiring example of Christianlove?
  • What practical steps can you take in order to follow Jesus'command to "love one another"?
Previous Page Thursday 17 August 2017
Next Page Saturday 19 August 2017