“Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.” (John 13:1, CEB)
These words set the stage for the Gospel of John’s version of Jesus’ last evening with his closest disciples and friends before his death on the cross. We’re tipped off to what’s coming, to something that will show just how Jesus loved his own to the very extent of love’s limits.
Jesus, their Teacher and Lord, knelt down and washed the disciples’ dirty stinking feet.
Peter objects, knows that it should be the other way around. But to refuse to let Jesus wash his feet would close Peter off from this ultimate act of love. “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me,” Jesus told him.
As UMC Bishop Robert Schnase says in his book The Five Practices of Fruitful Living, little did Peter and the other disciples know that in less than 24 hours Jesus would repeat this action on a much greater scale. Jesus would give himself up for the sake of all humankind. Through his death on the cross the ultimate gift of God’s love would be offered to us too, love shown to its fullest extent, making a forever relationship with God possible.
Sometimes I’m pretty good at closing the door to God’s love, a love ultimately found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. How about you? Open the door of your life more fully to God’s love and grace. Click here to listen to more (September 27 sermon).