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He Loved Them

He Loved Them

26 September 2018

GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Jim Stephens

Scripture: John 13:1-20 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)

1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. (John 13:1–2 NLT)

The scene changes. Jesus and his disciples are gathered for dinner, for the Passover meal. This may have been the third or fourth time they’d celebrated Passover together. But this is different. Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave the world and return to his father. And Jesus knew that the path he must travel out of this world and into his Father’s house was a steep and rocky path!

Jesus loved his disciples to the very end.
He loved Peter, Andrew, James, John. Perhaps he may have had a special place in his heart for John. And he loved Nathanael, Matthew, Philip, and Thomas. But it’s easy to forget that he loved Judas, son of Simon Iscariot! He loved them knowing that his hour had come. He loved them knowing that Judas Iscariot had already arranged to betray him into the hands of his enemies. He loved them knowing that in his darkest hour, as he agonized in prayer, they would fall asleep as he wept. He loved them knowing that in the high priest’s courtyard, Peter would deny being his disciple. He loved them knowing that as he was being beaten, mocked, and tortured by the soldiers, they would all desert him for fear of their lives.

An earlier translation reads, “He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love.” I love my family and I love my friends, but I have to admit that when I’ve stressed over things I’m facing, stuff I’m going through, I’m likely to show them something less than the full extent of my love! There’s still a lot of “self” in me! Let’s take this story slowly and thoughtfully. As we consider how Jesus expressed the “full extent of his love,” let’s ask our Father to grow our heart-capacity to love more like Jesus loves under less than ideal circumstances.

How can we love better when we’ve got a lot on our minds? How can we love better when others aren’t holding up their end of the love relationship? Jesus’ love isn’t a transaction or exchange, it’s a gift of grace!

Prayer:

Father, Please grow our capacity to love like Jesus’ loves—loving to the very end!

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