Part of the church world calls today called Maundy Thursday. Maundy means mandate, which refers to Jesus’ command in the Gospel according to John, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
I have heard many a preacher urge the congregation to love others as if you were loving Jesus. John Calvin has said as much as well. It’s a commendable teaching. In that way, we could love the most unlovable people by pretending like they are Jesus and treating them accordingly. Because we just adore Jesus. Right?
Frankly, Jesus is just about as ignored as much as bums on the street. Do you know many Christians turning the other cheek, not judging, and loving their enemies? We prefer our Jesus to be forgiving us as we nail him back up on the cross. We do that every time we treat God’s children as anything less than God’s children.
Just to be clear God’s children are every human being on the planet regardless of race, nationality, religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, gender; intelligence level, physical ability, criminal record, credit record, bank statement, political party, year of birth, ability to have children, employed or unemployed, under or overweight, even vegetarians.
Perhaps this is why Jesus gave this new commandment.
Love your neighbor as yourself is golden, but it still assumes that we know how to love ourselves. If I treated others like I treat myself, I would be slowly killing the world with overeating and lack of exercise.
We need this new commandment. Love one another as I have loved you. That’s totally different. And totally hard. Jesus loves indiscriminately and sacrificially. He was willing to give his life for anyone and everyone. And he did.
The good news is that we can understand this love—almost. Each of us has at least a person or two we love so much that we would die for them in a heartbeat. I would die for my wife or son without hesitation. That doesn’t make me Jesus. It just makes me a human, maybe even just a mammal. But at least I can understand through that love how Jesus loves.
Now all I have to do is apply it to every single person I meet. I have to see every person as my child or my partner in life. I have a feeling that I am going to need a whole lot of grace on Judgment Day.
Lord, help us all to love one another as you love us. Give us the grace each day to see others as our loved ones. In Your name we pray. Amen.