Thursday: Psalm 116 & John 13:1-17, 31-35

From Tim Teal

A major theme of today’s reading is what we might call the “order of things”. People and things have a certain order they are supposed to be in. Servants serve their masters. God is above humanity, and is glorified appropriately.

And yet, Jesus sees himself at both ends of the spectrum. He knows that “that the Father had given all things into his hands.” (3) He knows that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, and God glorified in Him. (31) And yet he washes his disciples’ feet, an act so obviously beneath him that Peter at first refuses to even let him do it.

The reason for this of course, is love. Love for one another, regardless of social status or usefulness or race or education or any other metric we invent to measure ourselves by, is the defining mark of a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus sums it up by saying that the world will know that we are his followers “if you have love for one another.”

The emphasis that came to me as I read this today though, was not to miss exactly how it is that Jesus expects the world to see love in us. This is not a generic or affectionate kind of love that will make the world take notice, but a sacrificial love. More specifically, Jesus is saying “The world will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another, expressed by your intentional and unflinching insistence on crossing the normal order of things to serve one another.”

Meditate on how Jesus crossed all the boundaries to stand in our place, and pray for the Spirit to show us where we hold on to self-interest and where we can show sacrificial love to our brothers and sisters, and to the world. Amen.