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A New Command to Love

Today's Devotional

A new command I give you: Love one another. John 13:34

In a tradition starting as early as the thirteenth century, members of the royal family in the United Kingdom give gifts to people in need on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. The practice is rooted in the meaning of the word maundy, which comes from the Latin mandatum, “command.” The command being commemorated is the new one that Jesus gave to His friends on the night before He died: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus was a leader who took on the role of a servant as He washed His friends’ feet (v. 5). He then called them to do the same: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (v. 15). And in an even greater act of sacrifice, He lay down His life, dying on the cross (19:30). Out of mercy and love, He gave Himself that we might enjoy the fullness of life.

The tradition of the British royal family serving people in need continues as a symbol of following Jesus’ great example. We may not have been born into a place of privilege, but when we place our faith in Jesus, we become members of His family. And we too can show our love by living out His new command. As we depend on God’s Spirit to change us from within, we can reach out to others with care, affirmation, and grace.

How have you observed or embodied servant leadership? In what ways could you “love one another” today?

My great Savior, what a gift of love You give! Thank You for being the ultimate Servant, laying down Your life for me.


What does it mean that Jesus gave a “new” command to love (John 13:34)? A command to love was already central in Jewish faith (Leviticus 19:18). But what seems “new” is to love “as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, the disciples would be given a new example of self-giving love that should shape their lives. But far more than just an example, Jesus would also give them the ability to love this way. Through the gift of Christ’s Spirit, they could experience and share the love Jesus shared with the Father (17:22-24).

By |2024-03-28T02:33:05-04:00March 28th, 2024|
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