We Are Loved to the End

bread and cup

Having loved his own who were in the world,
Jesus loved them to the end.

Jesus knows that the end of his life is coming. In a matter of hours, he will be unjustly arrested and condemned to die a painful death. As the end of his life draws closer, with each minute of heartbreak, Jesus also knows he will soon experience betrayal and abandonment by his most beloved disciples. It is a terrible burden to bear.

Having loved his own who were in the world,
Jesus loved them to the end.

In his final moments, Jesus chooses to demonstrate love and righteousness, for he embodies the very love and righteousness that the disciples cannot fulfill. The King of Kings clothes himself in rags of servanthood and lowers himself to the ground. With love and righteousness, he washes the feet of the very ones who will walk toward his betrayal and then run away in fear.

Why does he choose to serve the ones who serve him betrayal?

Because love and righteousness are the end —
the goal, the purpose, and the aim of his life. 

Jesus loved his disciples to the end – that is, to his very last breath.
Jesus loved his disciples to the end – that is, to the goal and purpose of who he was.

Jesus demonstrated love continually in the last hours of his life as he took bread, blessed it, and broke it with his disciples. He shared his last meal with them. He prayed for these disciples — each one — and he prayed for future disciples like you and me who would come to believe in him based on the words and witness of these disciples around the table with him.

Jesus loved these disciples.
Jesus loved us.
Jesus loved the world.
He loved us all in these last moments,
as he had loved us his entire life long.

Love so deep, enduring, and inclusive can come with challenges. Jesus loved so fully and radically that he threatened those in power, and the Roman state executed him. Love can be costly. . . Jesus chose to love anyway, and in doing so, he demonstrated the stronger power.

Jesus loved those he counted as friends, and he loved friends who would treat him like an enemy. Jesus Christ, God among us, loved humanity to the end – to his very last breath and the goal and purpose of his life.

We have all failed to live this kind of love fully. We struggle to love our friends and fellow disciples. We certainly fail to love our enemies and those who are scapegoated as the so-called “enemies.”

But Jesus gives us a commandment to love one another: “Love one another,” he says. “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Even if we do so imperfectly,
can we dare to love one another to the end,
to and through our very last breath?

Even if we do so imperfectly,
can we dare to love one another to the end,
to and through the very purpose and goal of Jesus’ life?

May God strengthen us as we sit at table with those we love.
May God strengthen us as we sit at table with those who disagree with us.
May God strengthen us as we ponder those who are vulnerable.
May God strengthen us as we ponder those who betray the vulnerable.

And may we know that Jesus Christ loves us to the end.

Renee Roederer

 

 

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