John 13: The Fullness of Love

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Today's Bible Reading: John 13

Selected Biblical Text
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. (John 13:1 NIV)

Reflecting and Thinking
John 13 is a familiar chapter to many Bible students. It is at the same time unknown and unfamiliar. References to the chapter often focus on only one verse -- verse 35: "love is how the world will know we are disciples." Have we missed the point? Have we failed to see that the chapter is more about the attitude of service and sacrifice than it is about love? In fact, the text affirms that love is reflected in service. The question is not how often we affirm our love, or for how many we proclaim our love. The question is how often and for how many we demonstrate our love through service. Love is action -- not mere affirmation. The love Jesus describes is self-sacrificing, willing to give one's entire lifetime, and even one's life if necessary. "Love as I have loved you. Love one another to the fullest, love to the end." We are to love as Jesus has loved us -- making supreme sacrifices. Suddenly, love is not nearly so much fun. Jesus' example is more than words -- he demonstrates his love in an action that foreshadows the sacrifice he will ultimately make for all humanity.

When have you loved someone unlovable? When have you loved someone you did not know? When have you loved someone undeserving? When have you loved another Christian? When have you experienced love, not as a emotion, feeling or a sharing of fellowship, but through genuine service that required you to make a sacrifice and go out of your way?

Heavenly Father, teach us to love as Jesus loved. Help us to show our love by what we do, and not merely in our words. Give us a loving spirit of humility and compassion, a willingness to serve whomever wherever and whenever you give us the opportunity, a spirit of forgiveness and love even when we have been wronged and rejected. Help us to follow Jesus' example, in His name, Amen.

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Last updated January 2019