A New Commandment

Read: John 13:21-38

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (vv. 34-35)

Jesus’ new commandment fell on the night of his betrayal, between the exit of Judas Iscariot from the dinner table and the revelation to a brash Peter that he would deny even knowing Jesus three times before morning. And there it was among the weeds—the commandment to love each other despite thorns and thistles, so the rest of the world would know there was something different about a disciple of Jesus.

I think about how closely that upper room resembles most of our houses of worship today. You sit among those who will betray and those who will deny, those who love deeply and those full of fear or anger or jealousy or greed; those who are clean and only need feet washed, and those whose hearts match dirty feet.

Scripture says that Jesus knew the contents of men’s hearts (John 2:24-25), but we don’t have that skill or luxury, and we’re also commanded not to judge because ours is the same measure by which we’ll be judged (Matt. 7:1-2). What we can do is love as Jesus loved. Compassionately. Extravagantly. Not counting the cost, the coins in a bag, or the risk to our reputation by sounding different than the rest of the crowd. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, consider Jesus’ commandment to love in the midst of an upper room filled with imperfect disciples.

About the Author

amy clemens

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.