Summary: How to love.
“It’s that Simple. It’s that Complicated”
John 13:1-5, 12-15, 34-35
Have you ever taken a moment to think about how totally profound this encounter is between Jesus and His disciples on the night that Jesus was betrayed?
I’m not referring to the fact that Jesus washed His disciples’ dirty feet…even though that itself is profound.
What blows my mind more than anything here is the fact that Judas got the same loving treatment as the rest of the disciples.
Jesus knew everything Judas was about to do and He still welcomed him among them.
Jesus knelt down and washed Judas’ feet and then shared a meal with him.
We say that the greatest example of love is when Jesus hung on the Cross, and that is true.
But this story shows us even more clearly the depth of love that is displayed on the Cross.
Judas was handed over to the authorities to be executed because Judas betrayed Him.
But even before that, Jesus shows Judas a mind-blowing level of generous, loving forgiveness.
We aren’t generally a people who know what’s going to happen in the future.
We don’t know beforehand exactly how things are going to play out in our lives.
We don’t wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I’m going to stay home because I know if I go get in my car and go somewhere I’m going to get in a wreck.”
We go about our lives.
Things happen and we react accordingly.
But being fully divine, Jesus knew all things.
So, the fact that Judas hadn’t betrayed Him yet is irrelevant.
Jesus’ knowledge of Judas’ impending betrayal would be like us having already experienced it.
Now, imagine that you have been betrayed in the worst of ways.
Would you want to sit down to a meal with that person?
Would you want to get down on your knees and wash their dirty feet?
What about your enemy?
When have any of us ever invited our enemy over to our house for dinner?
Who among us would volunteer to serve, in any way, someone who has betrayed us?
Because of our human nature, we steer way away from things like this.
If someone betrays us we cut them off.
If someone is our enemy, we avoid them at all costs.
But here Jesus is, kneeling down to wash the feet of His betrayer and saying to His disciples, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
And then He says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
And take note that love is not an option for us as followers of Jesus.
Jesus says, “A new command I give you.”
It’s not a suggestion.
It’s not a recommendation.
It’s a commandment!
Now, the command to love one another may sound straightforward and simple, but putting it into practice is one of the most complicated things we will ever try and do.
It takes a lifetime and then some.
It is the goal of the Christian life.
It is what everything hinges on.
As a matter of fact, Christian Perfection is to have a habitual love for God and other people—ALL other people—not just people who look and act and think and behave and believe like we do—but ALL people!!!
Loving those with whom we agree or are partial to is the easy part.
Loving the rest of the folks we come in contact with is a much harder proposition.
It’s said that the John who wrote this Gospel of John, in his old age, would remind those around him to love one another.
When questioned why he told them this so very often, his reply would be, “Because it is what our Lord commanded.
If it’s all you do, then it is enough.”
Yes, loving one another may just be the hardest thing we will ever set out to do.
But it is the key to EVERYTHING!!!
It is what Christianity is all about.
It is the missing piece in the puzzle of life.
There is a story about a man who had a huge boulder in his front yard.
He got tired of this bug, unattractive stone in the middle of his lawn, so he decided to turn it into a piece of art.
He went to work on it with hammer and chisel, and chipped away at the huge boulder until the ugly stone became a beautiful running deer.
When he was finished, it was gorgeous, breath-taking.
A neighbor asked: “How did you carve such a marvelous likeness of a deer?”
The man answered, “I just chipped away everything that didn’t look like a deer.”
If you and I have anything in our lives right now that doesn’t look like love, then, with the help of God, let’s chip it away!