I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
May 17, 2019, Words By: Lina Thompson, Image By: Barbara Zandoval
A few weeks ago, on my way to preach at a local Good Friday service, it became obvious that the brakes on my car were in need of repair. “It’s going to have to wait until Monday,” I told myself.
Sunday morning came, and as I was on my way to Easter service, I found myself thinking about two things: The Resurrection and my brakes. No kidding.
As I got up and made my way to the pulpit, I found myself thinking about what was waiting for me. It wasn’t an empty tomb. It was an expensive brake repair job.
Amidst the shouts of “He Is Risen!, I was thinking about something completely mundane.
“As I have loved you.”
The truth is, that’s our lives isn’t it? He is Risen indeed! Easter Sunday was definitely here… but Easter Monday is coming.
How are we to live our everyday lives in light of the Risen one? What difference does it make? What changes? What is new?
Two letters. That’s it.
In all the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples, its my favorite. It’s a small word, but it is everything: ‘AS’. “AS I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
If we are looking for what is different or new post-resurrection, it is this: The way that we love one another. We do it AS Jesus did.
It turns out that two-letter word is a deeply theological word. At the risk of overstating, “AS” is everything. In it is the mystery of the incarnationーthe word made flesh. The word made human. The Word AS human.
In this week’s lectionary text, Jesus experienced the pain of betrayal by one friend and was anticipating the denial of friendship by another.
Those are two very painful relationship experiences in Jesus’ life. Real pain. Human pain. And sandwiched in the middle of those two realities, the new command is to loveーto love AS Jesus did.
Love AS Jesus
Earlier in chapter 13 we read, “He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet” and later said to them “You should do AS I have done to you.”
“AS Jesus loves” means love is not subjective. It is as concrete and embodied.
“AS Jesus loves” challenges the transactional ways we relate to one another.
“As Jesus loves” is transformational. We surrender our grabs for power and posture ourselves as servants to one another.
“AS Jesus loves” opens our table to even those that might even be considered enemies and who may cause us harm.
The Eastertide season (7 weeks after resurrection) helps us to be intentional about the way we live in light of the Resurrection. Eastertide challenges us to live into newness. This text grounds that newness in loving as Jesus did.
Loving like this identifies us as His.
Loving like this could be all the evangelism that we’d need.