“Having loved his dear companions, [Jesus] continued to love them right to the end.” ~John 13:1 (The Message)
I’ve been moving about in the day-to-day, finding myself marvelling at the above sentence and the scene in which it is set: Jesus’ final Passover meal with His disciples, the twelve, before His imminent arrest, trial, crucifixion, and then His resurrection.
He loved His disciples. Wilfully, purposefully. This was no flim-flam, changes with the weather kind of a love. This was a love that loved no matter what. In Jesus’ case, it involved loving one who would hand Him over the authorities for money. And loving another who one second pledged unerring loyalty and in almost the next breath would insist he had never set eyes on Him. Jesus also loved the one who would demand tangible, touchable proof to what he could not believe his eyes were seeing upon Jesus’ resurrection. And it involved loving a world full of such people – lost, broken, liars and thieves and blowhards. Sinners all in need of mercy and grace.
It’s a mind-boggling, breath-stealing love. I wrestle with it, struggle to simply rest and stop and trust and let such love settle deep, deep, deep into this soul. There are times I’ve tasted it, felt it, moments I’ve known it and been knocked back by it. And then to remember my shortcomings, my failures, my sins …
Still, He loves me. No filters to smooth out the blotchy parts. No highlighting the highs, no erasing the lows. He sees all of me, all of you, and He loves us all the same.
And I … I struggle to like much less love those who have hurt me, hurt those I love, who love me. And yet, the One I follow says I’m to follow His example, and His example breathes hope and life and peace into this heart more than it could ever hope to earn. So I pick up, I go forward again. To see unfiltered me, you … and to choose to love all, to love the same. To love to the end.