Christ’s New Mandate of Love
mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem
(John 13:34 Vulgate)
I have given the scripture verse first in Latin. You will notice the first two words “mandatum novum”. These words mean new commandment. From the word Mandatum, we get an Old English word Maundy. The word maundy has a different meaning in modern English. It has come to symbolize the act of love that Christ gave to His disciples when He washed their feet. The importance of this act is why Jesus said it was to be the new commandment for Christians.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
(John 13:34 NKJV)
Therefore, as Christians we celebrate Christ’s love on the night He was betrayed. This is called Maundy Thursday.
Christ has given us the new mandate of love. A mandate is a command that comes from authority. Politicians usually issue new mandates for the country they lead. Jesus issued His new mandate for the Christians He leads. He said that we should love one another. However, Jesus issued this new mandate more like a doctor, and less like a politician. The Latin word mandatum comes from the Greek word, which literally means prescription.
When a person is sick, they will normally go to the doctor for healing. During the visit with the doctor, the patient will be given a prescription. This prescription is a document stating what is necessary for healing. The patient will take this prescription to the pharmacist and it will be fulfilled. When it is fulfilled by the pharmacist, the patient takes the fulfillment and uses it. S/he takes a tablet, or drinks a syrup and the sickness is healed.
Jesus essentially gave us as Christians a mandate, or a prescription to heal our lives. On the night before He would be betrayed, He told us that in order to receive healing from our relational sicknesses with one another, we need to follow this new mandate, or new prescription. We need to love one another, like He loved us.