Remembering The Fullness of Christ's Love

"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, ESV)

No matter how many times I read this verse, I'm always in awe of what it says. While Jesus was fully aware of the utter torment and anguish He was about to endure that very night, His thoughts were not on Himself and what horrors would befall Him, but His full attention and love were fixed on His beloved apostles.

The original Greek for the phrase "loved them to the end" means that Jesus demonstrated God's perfect and pure (agape) love to His disciples, continually and fully; to completion, even in His darkest hour.

I'm in a dark place right now as my heart aches deeply for our youngest son, our prodigal, who is no longer walking in God's truth, but walking rebelliously in the deceptive world where truth is relative rather than absolute. While in this dark time, I often struggle with depression which causes me to disparage every new day, sure it will be filled with more sorrow upon sorrow.

But when I run to the LORD for help and protection (Prov 18:10), I get to read passages like this one in John 13. Immediately the Lord lifts me (Matt 14:30-31) out of the miry pit of despair and sets my feet on solid ground, making my steps secure. He puts a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to my God (Ps 40:1-3) and I am saved from the gravity of sadness that continually tries to pull me back.

When I read John 13 verse one, I'm encouraged that though my Lord and Savior looked straight onto the dire anguish of the Cross, He never forgot His disciples, whom He loved, and considered their low estate (Phil 2:4-8). Rather than be consumed with Himself and what He would suffer, Jesus was more concerned about His disciples and what they were about to suffer...though incomparable to His own suffering. And in His great love for them, He prayed for their protection, their unity, their love for God and one another, and that the Gospel would go forth to all the world.

Jesus' thoughts were on the Father's glory, His will and our greatest good―eternal salvation.

This is encouraging to me because in 1 Corinthians two verse 16 we're told that God has given us the mind of Christ! Having repented of my sins and trusted fully in the Son of God for my life, I am sealed with the Holy Spirit who alone knows the mind of the Father (1 Cor 2:10-11) and now through Christ, is given also to me. Rather than be enslaved to my own tormenting thoughts, I am free to fix my mind on the things above rather than on the things below. Because of Jesus' finished work on the Cross, I have been empowered from on high to think on that which is: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8).

Like Christ my Savior who did this over 2,000 years ago in John 13, I too can do and am doing―meditating on God's promises, considering what most pleases the Father; and after looking upward, I look outward to seek whom I may love and serve to the end.

"always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies... So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we do not look to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
~2 Corinthians 4:10, 16-18 (ESV)

No matter where you find yourselves today: physically, emotionally or spiritually, if by faith, you've repented and trusted in Jesus Christ, then be encouraged that you too have this rich and glorious gift in Him; the freedom to live fully in Christ (Gal 2:20) and perceive this life in the magnificent light of what's waiting for us in Heaven (1 Cor 13:12).

Read Psalm 22 today. Then thank Jesus for all He endured for you so that you might become something neither you nor anyone else could ever make you to be―a holy and beloved child of God Most High.

Just as our Savior did, we should do also; live in this world, but never be of it (Jn 17:14-18, Rom 12:2, 1 Jn 3:1-3).

May you all have a blessed and joyous time celebrating our Lord's Resurrection Day.

Peace be with you.