Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1
Dear Lord Jesus, this story always grabs my heart, but today it's rekindling awe. It's the night of your betrayal---the night you would be denied and abandoned not just by Peter but by all of the disciples. You knew this and yet you persisted in disrobing yourself, bending low, and washing the dirty feet of these broken, bungling men.
The beauty and truth revealed in this scene is what keeps me sane---gospel sane. It anchors my thoughts when I lose my moorings; centers me when I'm feeling insecure; quiets my soul when I'm filled with restlessness; reels my heart in when I am in a wandering mode.
Lord Jesus, this is how you love each of your followers, all of your disciples, your whole bride. You've made us your own. You love each of us as though there was only one of us. You bought us with the very price of your blood. We were redeemed from sin and death, and placed into your righteousness and embrace. Absolutely nothing can separate us from your love.
While we're in this world, you're constantly loving us---without variance in degree, perfectly and passionately, all the time. You're loving us when we're alive to your presence and affections, and you're loving us when it feels like you're ignoring our prayers, indifferent to our pain, or displeased with our lives. In fact, whether we perceive it or not, the most constant can-be-counted-upon reality in our lives is not death and taxes but your loving kindness.
Jesus, it's the last line in this little verse that does me in. As with the men in the upper room, so with those of us in any of a number of rooms right now: you're still committed to showing us the full extent of your love---its height, depth, width, and breadth.
This turns our gaze to your cross, for it's in your death, Jesus, that we realize that there's no greater love to be found anywhere. On the cross, you laid down your life for others: for the rebel other, the foolish other, the sinful other---for me.
Though you died for a huge pan-national bride, I declare today that the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20). This isn't narcissism; it is necessity. It's not selfish; it's sacred. It's not Western individualism; it's deeply personal. I'm once again in awe, Jesus. Intensify my awe even more on this beautiful November day. So very Amen I pray, in your truly astonishing name.