“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”-John 13:1
Jesus was having his last meal before going to the cross. He knew it. He was about to face an unjust trial, a cruel scourging, and a very public crucifixion at the hands of the Romans and the Jews. He could have been anywhere, but he chose to be with his friends. Every time I read John 13, I am captured by the short phrase “he loved them to the end.” It brings to mind one of my favorite Hebrew words, hesed. Hesed has to do with “the steadfast love of God.” What does it mean to say that God’s love is steadfast? It means it is unswerving, unfailing, immovable, persistent, and relentless. It never stops, not ever. The verse does not say “he loved them until they sinned” or “he loved them until he got tired of them.” Even in the face of death, Jesus kept on loving them, with persistence and perseverance.
Jesus’s love wasn’t just for his disciples. He would gladly have had his last supper with you and me too. Even in the midst of our self-centeredness and our screw-ups, he doesn’t go away. He will keep on loving us in spite of ourselves, not because we are so deserving, but because love is who he is.
Jesus, my love for you is fickle. It changes with the breeze. I am so grateful that your love for me is not dependent upon my conviction, but upon your own, which says that I am your beloved. You willingly gave your Son so that I can live in your love for all eternity. Amen.