“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
The more I read and study about the love of Jesus, the more I realize just how far I have to go in order to love like he loves. Loving the lovable is easy. Loving those who love us is easy. Loving those who reciprocate is easy. But the love of Jesus goes way beyond the easy. John tells us that he loved his apostles to the very end. It’s no coincidence that the very next verse mentions Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. He knew what was in the heart of the one who would sell him out for the price of a common slave. He knew that Peter would deny him three times. He knew that all of the disciples would forsake him and flee. Yet, he loved them anyway. We often want to cut ties with those who don’t love us, who misuse us, who mistreat us, who want to do us harm. We may love others without knowing how it will turn out. But, imagine being able to know beforehand that your love would go unrequited, that you would be betrayed and denied by those who claimed to love you. How many of us would love them anyway? We would likely turn tail and run. Jesus loved them. He challenges us to love as he loves. That is no easy task. But, this love is the only love that will ever set us truly free. Let’s love people the way Jesus loves, with a love that never fails, that never gives up.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for showing what real love is all about in sending your Son. Thank you for the life he lived before us, the embodiment of the fullness of love. Help us to love as you love. Forgive us when we do not love as Jesus does. Forgive us when we show prejudice in loving, when we fail to love all men. Help us to see that we cannot be followers of Jesus until we try to love as he loves. Help us to never give up on loving others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”