Jesus Christ, Paradigm Of Agapé Love!
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5
For most Christians, no other passages in the Bible are referenced regarding the characteristics of “love”, as the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, also known as “the love chapter”. In fact, even the secular world references them virtually at ad-infinitum ad-nauseam. They will extrapolate these verses from the Bible and attach them onto cute clichéd post cards, plaques, walls frames, bumper stickers, etc, even though they cannot comprehend the depth of biblical love (1 Cor. 2:14). But perhaps the greatest exhibition of love recorded in Scripture, second only to Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, occurred in the Upper Room, where Jesus Christ spent His final evening of freedom with His beloved disciples, washing their feet and instructing them of things to come. Mere hours later, He would endure an ignominious and barbaric execution by means of crucifixion, which, historically, was considered the most brutal way to be put to death.
What made the scene even more disturbing and sorrowful, was the fact that all His disciples (except John) would forsake Him that very evening upon His arrest. Being omniscient, Jesus was cognizant that such abandonment would occur. But, even knowing what would take place, He astonishingly girded Himself with a servants towel and proceeded to wash the disciples dirty feet. (John 13:3-12). Here was God, Creator of the universe, and Savior of mankind; condescended to the level of an insignificant galley slave, washing the feet of sinful men! Furthermore, Jesus washed Judas Iscariot’s feet; the very disciple who would betray Him unto His arrest and murder! Jesus Christ’ sacrificial exhibition was the quintessence of loving your enemies. With perfection He demonstrated exactly what He preached in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5:44)
As He finished washing their feet, He instructed them; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). Selflessly, moments before His death and departure, Jesus emphasized the essential need to possess love for one another and its necessity in their ministry. To love one another is a command repeatedly taught in Scripture for all believers to obey. (John, 13:34-35, 15:12-13, 17, Rom. 13:8-10, Gal. 5:13, 1 John 3:11, 3:14-18, 22, 4:7, 12, 4:20-21, 2 John 5).
I close by citing the Apostle John, who wrote; “By this we know love, because He (Jesus Christ) laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 emphasis added). Amen!