The Great Love of Jesus (Follow Me)

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.
(John 13:1)

Our Lord’s appointed “fullness of time” was nearing. His death and resurrection were now imminent and He was readying for His departure home. We find Him telling His disciples this a little later in John:

“I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (John 16:28)

In Christ’s incarnation, He came from the Father. In Christ’s humiliation, He uncloaked His glory, entered this world and subjected Himself to the despising of those He came to save. He further humbled Himself by taking upon His sinless body the full chalice of God’s wrath against every sin committed by man–past, present, and future. By having these sins nailed to a cross and bearing the full weight of them upon His body, He lovingly provides a way for mankind to regain access to God. Every evil deed, every act of gross vileness, every sinful word spoken, every slight, every selfish act–all depravity and all evil–He bore upon His perfect flesh. Therefore, in Christ’s exaltation, He was resurrected and ascended back to His Father’s side in all glory. Praise His Name! I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Philippians:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

In our verses for today, realizing His time is drawing near, Jesus is about to show to His sheep–those He dearly loved–the full extent of His love. This love He is readying to demonstrate appears to be all wrapped up in selfless serving. In reading the Biblical definition of love we find the following:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-)

Jesus was patient with His disciples, bearing with their infirmities and never taking away His loving kindness from them. Though He reproved them, He never removed His love from them and they remained in His constant care and concern. He rejoiced when they “got it”; He protected them; had high hopes for them; persevered to the end with them; He served them. He perfectly demonstrated Biblical love to His closest companions. This remains true of His disciples today. He has a warm and friendly love for those that are His own. Nothing can separate the believer from the love of Jesus. I am reminded of Paul’s encouraging words to us in Romans:

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

Take It to Heart

What actions do we choose to do when we are leaving someone we hold dear? How is it that we manifest our love towards those we care for deeply?
“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved.” (Thomas Merton)