April 8th, 2009
By Myron Augsburger
EMU professor emeritus and former president
Read: John 13: 21-32
Reflect: The refinement of spirit during Lent calls us to renewal of integrity in our love. Our Master is the one example of loving with integrity to the fullness of love.
Love means that one’s life is intimately open to that of another. In our text, following upon the story of Jesus’ act of washing the disciple’s feet, we need to note that Judas was among the disciples. Reading the account we must ask, what must have passed between Jesus and Judas as Jesus knelt before his betrayer, looked up into his eyes and washed his feet – “Judas, I haven’t changed, I still love you, you are the one alienating yourself from me.”
Of Jesus’ act, at the beginning of the chapter it says, “Having loved his own he loved them to the full extent of love” (13:1). This is a statement that searches our hearts in this Lenten season but always, do we love to the full those who may be the most unlovable. Our text makes clear that Jesus understood Judas and still showed him respect, he didn’t expose and humiliate him before his colleagues.
This section concludes noting that Jesus saw his glorification with the Father not in position or power but in the self-giving love that blesses others. He could suffer at the hands of humanity, our hands, and in his self-giving to the death his forgiveness is genuine, at the cross he is forgiving us who actually hurt him.
In contrast to Judas, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we are having fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son keeps on cleansing us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
Respond: Let us follow our Master, the the one example of loving with integrity to the fullness of love.