Easter: Reviving the commandments of Jesus Christ
SAN JOSE, CA: On this weekend many Christians throughout the world will celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These celebrations are central to the faith of those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.
For those disciples, the teachings of Christ, and God the Father are the guiding principals of their faith. Yet, the real question for Christians and non-Christians alike is whether someone is genuinely a Christian just due to their belief in Jesus. The challenge, therefore, is whether or not Christians need to do something to demonstrate that belief or faith.
Living our faith in Jesus Christ
The reality is that today there are no simple answers because there are so many churches with many leaders.So many churches are unique in their own way of emphasizing the seminal aspect of the Christian message.
Additionally, the world has changed so very much since Jesus of Nazareth walked on the Earth. However, if one reads the stories of the New Testament, clarity could dispel contemporary confusion.
Christians should remember that one of the essential stories associated with the Easter period is in the Book of John. The gospel tells of the time in which Jesus and his disciples went to the upper room to partake of the day of Unleavened Bread and to eat the Passover meal.
In that place, Jesus removed his outer garments and knelt before each of the twelve disciples to wash their feet. This part of the activities surrounding the Last Supper is not often remembered in many Christian traditions or recounted in churches today.
Christ’s action of washing the feet of his disciples is not as emphasized in regular church services as much as his sharing of the communion meal of bread and wine.
Christ’s Last Supper commandment to his disciples
However, Jesus was making a very specific point to those who were present. After washing their feet, Jesus explained to the twelve disciples:
Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and what you say is well, for I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, how much more should you wash one another’s feet? For I have given you this as an example so that just as I have done to you, you should also do. Truly, truly, I say to you, there is no servant who is greater than his master; and no apostle who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:12-17 – Lamsa’s Aramaic translation)
What transpired in that upper room is reported differently in the other gospels. As if to offer clarification of the event, Luke’s account of the Last Supper reveals a dispute that arose between the disciples as to who should be regarded as the greatest of Jesus’ followers.
Again, Jesus instructed them as he explained,
“…let him who is great among you be the least, and he who is a leader, be like the one who serves… But, I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27 – Lamsa’s Aramaic translation)
One cannot but be amazed at the humility of Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper. In reading the gospel, one sees that some of his disciples had little clue that “the way of the servant” was an important a part of what Jesus was trying to teach to them.
The Christian you are or the Christian Christ wants you to be
So, the obvious question for everyone who calls themselves a Christian would be: What kind of individual would Christ consider you to be?
In another passage, Jesus is asked by a Pharisee, who is also a lawyer, about what Jesus considered the greatest of the Ten Commandments to be.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to it, Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 – Lamsa’s Aramaic translation)
Again, the obvious question for everyone who calls themselves a Christian would be:
Would Christ consider those individuals to be following the greatest commandments?
Looking into your heart at Easter
It is a serious endeavor for those who call themselves Christians to look within their hearts at Easter, it is important to search out what is held in common with Christ.
It is an excellent effort of self-reflection because it can lead to personal transformation.
When Jesus gave his own commandment, which he called new, it actually aligned with what he held to be the greatest of the Ten Commandments from Moses. His own commandment was also given at the time of the Last Supper, and is quite simple and quite clear:
“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this every man shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ” (John 13:34-35 – Lamsa’s Aramaic translation)
Finally, the obvious question for everyone who calls themselves a Christian would be:
Would Christ consider his disciples to be a true followers of the word of God, or followers in name only?
True Christians at Easter should allow the deepest part of Jesus’ teachings to work its way into the deepest part of their hearts because Jesus simply said:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments…”
(John 14:15 – Lamsa’s Aramaic translation)
Hopefully, on this Easter, in such troubled times, that love will be re-kindled.
Lead Image: By Tintoretto La lavanda dei piedi – in the public domain
http://www.museodelprado.es/imagen/alta_resolucion/P02824.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16957833