There is no greater love than knowing the love God has for us. But do we really understand the depth of His love? Do we have the desire to go deeper in realizing this love He has for us? What kind of love is this who sacrificially lays down his life for us so that we do not receive the punishment for our sins that we well deserve? What kind of love bends down to wash dirty feet that have walked miles in sandals?
John, Jesus beloved disciple and witness, gives us glimpses of God’s love demonstrated so eloquently and unreservedly in His Son, Jesus. In this passage alone, we see Jesus put aside his robe of authority at the Passover meal, take on the role of a servant, bend down with apron, bowl and basin to wash the feet of his disciples—even the one He knew had betrayed Him. The only human act of love who comes close to this kind of love is Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with precious oils and dried his feet with her hair.
Jesus then prepares his disciples once more for his departure but not with delivery once simple message—LOVE like I love you. In a few hours, Jesus will be taken away, falsely accused, beaten, stripped of all dignity and then nailed to a cross to pay the debt of the sins of the world God loves. Jesus will be lifted up in humility for all to see. Passersby will mock him. Followers will weep, thinking life is over. But death cannot hold Him for He is the Son of God sent to save us! God’s glory will be seen as Jesus rises from death on the third day—all because of this love we are trying to wrap our small minds around. This is what Jesus means when he foretells of God’s glory—glory all around!”
Jesus’ parting words to his beloved is this: “Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
Friends, this kind of love is active in serving, goes deep in believing, is willing to trade our old lives for new lives of living under the authority of Jesus. This kind of love loves and cherishes everyone in the world no matter who they are or what they have done. We have learned from John that Jesus’ kind of love is humble, kind, gentle, patient, and forgiving. Paul describes the character of the love of Jesus in this way, “…the fruit of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit who lives in all who believe) is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:25)
So, until Jesus comes back again, we are commanded to: Love God. Love Others. This is the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples (and us) to live out loud so we will be recognizable to each other. Peter is stuck on physically wanting to follow Jesus wherever He goes, but Jesus comes back to remind him of his humanness. More on that story later.
Until then—Love like Jesus.
John 13:31-38, The Message
A New Command
31-32 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!
33 “Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
36 Simon Peter asked, “Master, just where are you going?”
Jesus answered, “You can’t now follow me where I’m going. You will follow later.”
37 “Master,” said Peter, “why can’t I follow now? I’ll lay down my life for you!”
38 “Really? You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times.”
We sometimes get stuck on our own humanness while waiting on your return. We long to be with you, but we also know there are souls who need your saving grace. How will they know unless we love like you love? Help us to go deeper in your understanding the depths of your love for us so we can go deeper in our love for each other. Help me to love today in your ways of loving so others will know without doubt that I am loved by you and they are, too! Lord, may all I do be led by you and your love. Nothing else really matters but your love in me.
In Jesus Name, for Your Glory, Amen.
I’m reminded of the chorus of a beautiful hymn, “Until Then”
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.
Loving like Jesus is freeing, brings joy into our lives, lifts our spirit and puts smiles on our faces. Until then—Love like Jesus.