Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:33-35
The last supper with his disciples, and Jesus’ tone is different:, tender, nurturing, and maternal (I needed a sister in our Life Group leader’s study to point this out). I have always read it more like a father giving his last instructions. As a father’s last instructions, his last words is disappointing. They are too simple and saccharine as last instructions. So the great religious father-figure simply wants his disciples to live in a commune where everyone gets along?
But from a maternal angle, these would be the only words.
For sure, Jesus believes that the life of love will be the most convincing witness to the world, a point he will repeat. But I want to linger on the main tone of this message, Jesus wants his followers to love each other well, as much as a mother would believe, more vehemently than a father would, that success is not achievement but belonging, that if the siblings can call each other up and be there through all the undulations of life, her children would have life to the fullest. Jesus is saying more than this, for sure, but he is saying at least this. Jesus’ loves the disciples so much that he want them to first love each other, much like any mother.