2009-04-08 - Love That Has No End
John 13:1, Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
The direct reference in this passage is respecting Jesus' care for His disciples. However, there is more here, and we may take this verse as applying to ourselves, as well. The Lord loves and tenderly cares for His children today, just as He did for His disciples when He was on Earth. Consider that there were lapses in the consistency of the disciples. We have the two brothers, asking one to be seated on the right and the other on the left when Jesus enters His kingdom, Peter's denials, and doubting Thomas. The inner circle of Peter, John, and James could not stay awake with Him, when He was in His trial at Gethsemane. The disciples struggled with faithfulness to the Lord, and as they are like us in this, so when Jesus says that He loves them, we can know that He loves us also - even when we fail. We return to Him both for forgiveness and grace to be more faithful to Him in the future. Christ was compassionate to the disciples in their failings, and so also, we may know that His love usward is still everlasting - even when our sin makes us feel ashamed to be His servants.
Christ loves His children who are in the world. This is our great encouragement. We are in the world. We have temptations. We even give into them - we have sin. It is a cruel world for the child of God. One great comfort is that Jesus loves us who are in the world. He sends us as sheep in the midst of wolves, but don't think for a moment that He has taken His eye off His sheep. We have His watchful attention. He knows the sinful generation we live in, and the perils we are exposed to. He loves His own who are in the world. So we have spoken generally so far lets be specific. We fail, we fall, and we sin. Does Jesus still love a child that falls into anger or drunkenness - does Jesus' love disappear when we deny Him and play the miserable role of being a sinner? As long as we are in the world, we are going to wrestle greatly with sin. I want you to take this with you: ¦Jesus loves His own who are in the world. Don't forget this and despair. He sees your imperfection. He knows your struggles. He understands the uprisings and rebellion of your heart - and He loves you, notwithstanding all. We come to Him, knowing His love when we have sinned, and we ask forgiveness. We repent when we sin. It is the spiritual exercise of the child of God - repenting and following Christ - and, as we do, we never lose sight of His everlasting love.
Let us persevere in our love to Christ. He is faithful to us, so let us be faithful to Him. We often resolve to change. We have all learned that resolution changes nothing. It is dependence upon Christ that brings lasting, bona fide change. Only Christ can change a life. If we have sought to live in our own strength, we have all found that this leads us nowhere. It is to Christ we turn to give us the strength to follow Him. We look to Him for strength. We look to Him to lead us and sustain us in His way. Persevere in the love of Christ, yes, let us do this, but we will never know victory, until we come to Christ to give us the capacity to do so. We seek Christ first, and then the triumph is added unto us, Matthew 6:33, 34. It is when we rest in Him alone, that we experience His love that has no end.
Soli Deo Gloria,