It’s the week before Palm Sunday and that means we are about to enter that time of remembrance that leads to the entry into Jerusalem and Jesus’ final week before the crucifixion. Several thousand years ago, Christ was nearing the end of His three year ministry on earth and was beginning to make preparations for His death on a cross.
The disciples still didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the sacrifice that Jesus was about to make and I’m not so sure that even today, 2000 years later, we can understand it either. That’s because we are human and what Jesus did for us was a God sized sacrifice. It’s important to remember that the apostles had spent almost three years with Jesus, on the road and learning from Him at virtually every stop they made. But still they just couldn’t understand the message that Jesus was bringing to them – God’s kingdom of heaven on earth. And let’s not forget that Jesus was all about loving one another – that’s the really big idea.
The love that God has for His Son, Jesus, and the love that Jesus has for us is the model of behavior that we are expected to emulate. By this time in His ministry, Jesus had called the disciples to a lifetime of service, had started the ministries of the disciples to the Jews, the Romans and just about every walk of life including the poor and the marginalized.
Judas had been the “treasurer” of the group and Jesus had spoken in front of thousands of people. He had performed miracles at the wedding in Cana and we are all familiar with the feeding of the multitudes of people. Peter walked on water, Jesus had calmed the storms, and all of nature for that matter, and most of the known world was familiar with the name of Jesus. There was no doubt that Jesus had rattled the traditional environment – the Pharisees and other Jewish elite. He had told countless parables and on rare occasion the disciples had started to pick up bits and pieces of the mission of Jesus.
The verse for this evening is from the Gospel of John. The apostle tells us, in his account of the life of Jesus, in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” These words were spoken by Jesus as He was trying to set Christians apart from the rest of the world – holding them to a higher standard.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus loves you more than you know. We are about to remember the last several weeks of His life and my prayer is that you will take time to study, pray and process what these next several weeks are really all about. You may even come to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus more than you ever have before… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…