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. (John 13:1)
Relate: “He loved them to the very end.” This is now my third attempt to write this. Twice I have felt what I was trying to work in an analogy or an illustration was simply inadequate. I need a way to do the impossible. I need something that can help us to even begin to try and understand the feeling that I am simply unable to talk about. It is that smile that instantaneously appears on your face when you see her name on the ID when the phone is ringing. It is that one line in that one movie that is guaranteed to bring on a torrent of tears no matter how many times you’ve already watched it. It’s that warm feeling when she, half asleep, nuzzles against you on the couch. The problem is, for each and every one of us, there is a different one thing that will trigger this moment. If we aren’t in love, or if that love is going through a difficult rough patch, it is very hard to artificially generate that feeling. I am not necessarily talking about the feeling you get when you know you love someone. It is more that warmth that envelops you when you know, somehow for some odd unfathomable reason, they love you.
If you know the feeling I am talking about, grab it. Hold it. For a brief moment lean back and smile as you bask in it. Do your best in your mind’s eye to imagine the impossible. Take that feeling and multiply it a hundredfold. That is just the shallowest imagining of a beginning glimpse of a taste of God’s overwhelming love for you. I’ve got a million and one reasons why God shouldn’t love me. He knows my mind. He knows my thoughts and my motivations for everything I do and even everything I wish I could do if I knew I would never get caught. He sees me when I think nobody’s looking. He knows my faults and my foibles better than anyone. Yet he loves me still. His love is unconditional.
React: Just think about it. “He loved them to the very end.” Do you realize what this end entails? He loved them when they argued and squabbled about who would be “greatest”. He loved them as he began to wash their feet because none of them was willing to bend their own pride enough to carry out this necessary task. He loved them when they all fell asleep as He wrestled in prayer with His own fears in the garden. He loved them even as they all bugged out when He was put in handcuffs. He loved them even as they started cursing up a storm to strangers trying to prove that they had nothing to do with Him. He loved them to the very end… even as one of them turned around and sold him out for a few bucks to His worst enemies.
There’s an abundance of reasons even before this end as to why His disciples were unlovable. They are going to give Him plenty of reasons for a spiritual “breakup”. They are going to present Him with an abundance of causes for an emotional “divorce”. He is going to love them through it all. He loved them. He loves us. If you are anything like me there is an abundance of reasons popping up in your mind as to why God shouldn’t love you. There’s a laundry list of reasons why He couldn’t love you. He does. Through it all, God loves you deeply and passionately right up to the very end. Nothing, absolutely nothing you have ever done or will ever do could ever separate you from that love. No actions, emotions, no events, not the past, present or future could ever separate you from His love. It is that deep. It is that enduring. So what are you going to do about it?
God, I am so grateful for Your love. Its, its… overwhelming. If I never learn another thing, let me never lose sight of the truth that Your love for me goes far beyond words, or feelings, actions or time. Let me walk in the confidence that nothing… nothing could ever separate me from Your love. You love me. You love me. To the very end of time, You love… me.