Thursday, November 19, 2009

One another- Part One

one: being or amounting to a single unit or individual or entire thing, item, or object rather than two or more; a single: one woman; one nation; one donut.

another: being one more or more of the same; further; additional: another donut.

one another: (pronoun) Used to indicate a reciprocal (or mutual) relationship or actions among the members of the set referred to by the antecedent… the teachers help one another. (Accessed from: on 10/10/09)

Putting those 2 words together makes all the difference. We can see this difference lived out in kids as they learn to play together. Sometimes children first exhibit something called “parallel play,” in which ONE child will play next to ANOTHER child, but not really interact with them. Once interaction begins, they discover that in order to play together, there has to be some give-and-take between them—which is not always easy! But when it happens, these beautiful itty-bitties get a taste of “one another.”

It’s clear that God wants all His kiddos to understand “one another” as well; there are over 50 times in the New Testament where either that phrase or its close neighbor “each other” is used to teach us something about community. For the next couple of posts, I'd like us to look at some of the most significant “one another’s” and let them teach us—the big kids—more about how to play together, not just next to each other.

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (-John 13:1-5)

Foot washing was a common practice of this time. People wore sandals and walked dusty, dirty roads every day, so by the time of the evening meal, their feet were really messy. Since it was also common practice to recline at low tables while eating, the washing of feet before a meal just made sense.

You can imagine how unpleasant this task would have been. It’s no wonder the servant of the lowest stature was typically saddled with this responsibility. Some of the other gospels (Luke 22:24) share that the 12 had been “discussing” before the meal who among them was the greatest. Could it be that they were also trying to decide who was the lowest among them, and therefore the one who should take this indignity?

There’s no doubt that Jesus’ action created one king-sized moment of awkward silence.

Even after Peter breaks the silence, an awkward tension remains. Jesus proceeds to correct Peter, and share that they should do this for each other. He then says bluntly that one of them is going to betray Him. In the aftermath of this shock, Judas leaves without apparently raising any questions from the remaining disciples.

At this point, the tension lifts. But Jesus uses this moment to deliver a mammoth lesson, perhaps THE mammoth lesson on what it truly means to be His follower:

"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (-John 13:33-34)

Love One Another.

This is the “one another” that will serve to direct all the others that are found in the New Testament. And if we unpack these verses a bit, we’ll see why it’s so important.

Working backwards from the resurrection, it seems that the last supper would have happened on what we call Thursday. In many traditional circles, the Thursday before Easter is referred to as Maundy Thursday. If you’ve ever wondered where it got its name, you’re answer can be found in the passage of Scripture we just read.

From Middle English maunde, from Old French mande, the word stems from the Latin mandātum (commandment).

Mandatum is the first word in the Latin translation of John 13:34, completed by the Latin word novum (new):

"A new command I give you: Love one another.”

A new command? What makes it new?

We'll save that for tomorrow. Hope to "see" you then!

In Him we live,



Kelly Langner Sauer said...

Been pondering relationship myself lately - I am really interested to see where you take this.

katdish said...

So, you know I love Peter, right? For some reason I keep picturing the Chris Farley interview with Paul McCartney: "Man! Ugh! I'm so stupid!" Don't know why...

I should probably have a low carb monster...

I really enjoyed this series. Glad your posting your notes here. Even though you really should do a podcast. Just saying...

Jeff said...

Thanks Kelly- I am too! Okay, so I already have it written. But I do hope this series of posts provokes some good conversation!

And with that in mind... thanks Kat. I know I can alway rely on your wit and insight to bring clarity to the matter- now I'll be running that skit over and over in my head all day.
Oh, and by the way- Holla!