Jesus was eating supper with his disciples. His last formal supper with them.
He was a little restrained in what he was saying at first, knowing that Judas was getting antsy. Judas who would let the temple police know where best to arrest Jesus.
Then Jesus sent Judas on his way. And turned to the important task of giving last directions to his disciples.
“I’m leaving very soon,” he said. “You can’t come with me. But here’s what I want you to do. A new command. Love one another.”
The disciples knew commands. They knew the 10. They knew the extras. They knew the two that Jesus had summarized for them: Love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself.
Here Jesus is adding focus. He looks around the room at each of them and says, “Love one another. The way I have loved you.”
This was after he had washed their feet, showing that love meant service. This was after he had taught them, scolded them, fed them, mentored them, encouraged them, taken them into his confidence.
And Peter says, “Where are you going?”
Jesus is willing to allow the conversation to move in that direction, to talk theology about the Father and the Spirit and how Jesus was connected to them.
As often happens in our conversations. We hear a direct command and we want to move back in the conversation, to understand what is really going on, to get some details.
But then Jesus comes back to the same place he was before Peter’s question.
“Love one another. The way I have loved you.”
I think his command can become a daily assessment question: “As I look back on my day, in what specific ways (if any) have I loved any other disciple like Jesus did?”
And then ask again tomorrow.