April 01, 2014

Full Extent of His Love

John 13:1-5

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
—John 13:1


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 my children were small, they sometimes engaged in trying to express how much they loved me. With arms and hands outstretched as far as their toddler-sized bodies would allow, they strained to show the extent of their love: “This is how much I love you, Mommy!” Of course, I was 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?

Lord, thank you for loving me. Help me to grasp how high and wide and deep and long your love is for all people. Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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