The love of Jesus is beyond our comprehension. We get a glimpse of this in the foot washing episode of John 13.
In a few hours, Jesus will face a mock trial. He will be flayed without mercy by sadistic soldiers. He will face mobs of people who cry for His death though He has likely healed many of them. He will die by crucifixion, a death so obscene that no respectable person mentioned it. Our tame pictures of the crucifixion do not convey what Jesus endured. Varnished church crosses numb us to what He actually experienced.
All of this loomed over Him and was on His mind. Yet just a few hours before His impending death, He thinks of His disciples and their comfort in one of the most humbling and trifling of details—their feet. He, their Master, even takes the role of a lowly servant and washes each disciple’s feet, including those of Judas Iscariot who will soon betray Him, and Peter who will deny Him with curses. Soon, the others will flee and abandon him, leaving Him completely alone to His executioners.
He knows all of this will soon take place, yet He performs this humble task anyway.
All the gospels portray Jesus’ disciples as dull learners who, over the past three years, forget what He says almost as soon as they hear it. Yet He says to these twelve pitiful men, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.” His love for them never wavers in spite of their habitual stupidity.
The love of Jesus is stronger than death. It is a fierce love that stops at nothing, is discouraged by nothing. His love accepts the full reality of sin but completely overrules and overcomes it by good. It crushes every lesser thing in its path.
Charles Spurgeon once said: “Earthworms are miserable company for angels . . .yet love made our great Master endure the society of His ignorant and carnal followers.” His great love is conditioned by nothing.
In contrast, our own weak and sentimental love is conditioned by a thousand different things. We are always getting offended by something or someone. We allow trivial things to divide us. Political correctness is a symptom of how unloving we have become as a society and within the church itself.
We are told that only about 4% of today’s young people maintain contact with the church. The church remains unattractive to most because they see church people as unloving. They fear coming to church to hear more rebuke than encouragement. They are aware of their sins and feel guilt over them. They hunger for redemption and release, but they do not hear it.
Once more, the church needs to experience the fierce love of Jesus that stops at nothing and will not let us go. This is the greatest weapon by which we fight the works of the devil. This is how we defeat fear and hopelessness. This is how we stop medicating ourselves with materialism and worldliness. The fierce love of Christ restores relationship and ends mere religion and legalism.
When we recover the fierce love of Jesus, we will have the one thing for which the rest of the world hungers. May that day come sooner rather than later!