What does perfect love look like? Oceans currently has team out from the US. As preparation for the trip they were given the assignment to read and mediate over John 13-17 a month prior to the trip. For me these are some of the most profound and powerful words of Scripture.
Jesus has a few hours with His disciples before He is betrayed and sentenced to death the next day. So what He does and says in these passages highlights intensely everything He has taught them for the past 3 years.
And the first thing He does in the upper room is show them a picture of perfect love. He gets on the floor and “shows the full extent of His love” (13:1) This past Sunday at a church service we discussed how perfect love can be described with the “V” in the word love.
Perfect love always first descends. As you write the letter V the first stroke is down. Jesus got down as a humble servant to wash smelly, dirty feet. A lasting picture for His followers of what love looks like. Paul describes what Jesus did that night this way:
“Though He was God He did not demand and cling to His right as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminals death…” (Phil. 2:6-8).
Love comes down from the Father and the Son through the cross and washes all our sin away. At the bottom of the “V” is us. Will we let Him wash us? Will we say yes to His saving love? You recall Peter protested in pride and told Jesus “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus responded, “If I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Peter quickly revered his protest.
For those who receive this descending love of Christ, this gift of the Father, love then ascends. The line of the “V” goes up and represents being raised with Him in the resurrection and His ascending glory. Listen to Paul again from Philippians 2:
“Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (vs. 9-10).
The descending Servant is now the ascending King and for all who believe in this gift of love the “V” stands for Victory! Can you shout amen! The perfect love of Christ makes us victorious and also vessels of blessing. After Jesus gets up from the washing He says, “now it is your turn! As I have loved you, and washed you now you do what I have done and you will find the path of blessing,” (John 13:15-17). This is how the world will know we our followers of Jesus by being vessels of His love, pouring it out on the world around us, (John 13:34)
Sunday the team got to practice the “V” of love right after the service. The Pastor called them up and had them pass out food parcels to needy families as well as serve them lunch. It was a joy to watch as the love of Christ flooded hearts and filled the atmosphere with the blessing of heaven.
I pray during this holy season and beyond you will experience the “V” of love!