John 13:1 (ESV)
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.
Everybody needs to be loved. It’s one of the deepest truths of our shared human condition. More specifically, we all need to be shown love.
When children are small, they sometimes engaged in trying to express how much they loved with arms and hands outstretched as far as their toddler-sized bodies would allow, or they strain to show the extent of their love with words: “This is how much I love you!” Of course, the parents are delighted!
As Jesus spent precious final hours with his disciples, his primary project was to make clear why he had come to earth. While the shadow of the cross crept steadily toward him, Jesus showed his disciples the central meaning of his mission: God’s love (see John 3:16).
How did Jesus communicate that message of love? He knelt down in front of his disciples and washed their feet. The One who had come from heaven humbly washed away the earth’s dirt from between his followers’ toes. What an unusual expression of love!
Jesus’ message of love is surprising. It’s countercultural. Its claim is that through the cross-shaped giving of himself, Jesus showed us the full extent of his love—he loved his followers “to the end.”
Jesus’ love bends low. His love washes us clean. Jesus’ love searches and reaches out for us. Have you opened your heart fully to his love?
Dear Lord, thank You for loving us. Help us to grasp how high and wide and deep and long Your love is for all people. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.