John's Gospel-a new look: no 23 A new command
John 13- a new commandment
If you are leaving your friends, family, disciples in just a few hours you would think very carefully about what you would say and do.
John records that Jesus “knew the time had come to leave” (13:1) and so in chapter 13 John records an interesting actions and an amazing teaching. Jesus firstly takes the servant towel and washes the disciple’s feet and then gives them the so called “royal command”; “to love one another.”
At this time his disciples where still arguing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom that Jesus was teaching them about. In the world they lived power and control was all that mattered and as yet they did not understand much about the principles of the Kingdom of God. If they went back and read Isaiah 52/53 they would have had a much clearer picture of Jesus who came as the "suffering servant".
What they were about to learn is that the main principle of the Kingdom of God is service. The love that the disciples would show after Jesus left to return to his Father would be living evidence to people in the world that they finally had learnt this principle. By their lives of service people in their time would see who they where and who they belonged to.(vs.35)
This principle of service and love is in direct opposition to the way people in the world think and behave. In the world “I” am of central importance; “I” deserve to be waited on; and “I” am at the center of the universe. In God’s Kingdom he is the center of the universe. There I am called to service, to wash the feet of others, to love my neighbor as myself. What a challenge that was to the disciples as Jesus challenged them and what a challenge it is to us today.
In a world where everyone demands their rights and are prepared to die fighting for them the Son of God calls on his followers to “die to self”, give up their rights and dedicate themselves to service of others. The Apostle Paul explains it in this way; “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil.1:21 – N.I.V.)
The new live that is offered in Jesus is one of self sacrifice and service. The true disciples of Jesus have always realized this and in so doing have made a difference in the world.God waits for us to learn this lesson and stoop to put on the servants apron and serve.There is no other way to become a follower of Jesus.