Thursday, April 14, 2022
For me, one of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible about the love of Jesus is John 13:1.
“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.”
It is the night before He was to be crucified and He is meeting with His disciples. Jesus has spent over three years with them, teaching them about God with His words and His actions. Motivated by love, He has modeled for them the attributes of God like grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, peace, joy, and justice. He completely manifested the reality of God to them.
By now His human heart is being wrenched with pain as His spiritual heart sees the reality of what He is about to suffer. I can only imagine what it must be like to have to accept the truth that these are the final days of life on this earth. I know how much it hurts to hear about those I love who are nearing death. The pain must be excruciating for those who are living it. Jesus was no different. He has called together those that He loves to give them the news and to spend whatever time He has left making sure they are prepared for the future. He looks back on His life with them and is satisfied that He has loved them completely and accomplished God’s mission to that point. But there is one more thing He needs them to learn. It is not an insignificant thing left until the end as an addendum or because of an oversight: it is the culmination of His teaching and the completion of His love. He intentionally modeled for them how to fully show love to others by being their servant.
Notice these important truths:
1. Jesus was a servant to others even when He was under extreme emotional stress. How often do we use stress as an excuse to become self-focused? I did that yesterday, and it ended up hurting a sister in Christ. I accomplished what I wanted but at the expense of her significance. I have apologized, but the pain remains. Jesus modeled the fullness of love when He served others in a time when circumstances warranted others serving Him. I should have done the same.
2. Jesus taught in this one action of washing His disciple’s feet that true love expresses itself by considering others better than our self. The full extent of love is experienced only when we look to the needs of others even when we have needs that seem bigger. How can we compare the needs of a person who is about to be severely persecuted and killed to the needs of people with dirty feet? How can we not be deeply touched by the expression of love as the One in the greatest need meets the lesser needs of others?
3. Jesus knew that the acquisition of power, position, and prestige would lead most people to self-sufficiency. When the foot washing was complete Jesus asked the disciples if they truly understood what He had done. Before they could answer He told them. He reminded them of His rightful position as their Teacher and Lord. Jesus knew His status with them and with His Father, and so did the disciples. But Jesus made it perfectly clear that power and position are never to interfere with the expression of love to others. He modeled it so that we all could see it and do it. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Friends, my heart is overwhelmed right now with a desire to renew my commitment to showing the full extent of God’s love for me by serving others. Not just when it’s convenient or even appropriate, but in all situations, and with no concern for my own position, rights, or needs. Will you consider the same, remembering the model of Jesus who showed the full extent of God’s love by washing His disciple’s feet, even the feet of the one who would betray Him?