At my mom’s group this morning we read John 13. I’ve probably read this chapter no less than 100 times. I love the story of Jesus, the King of Kings, kneeling to serve His disciples by washing their feet. But, I saw this story with fresh eyes this morning. I think every time I’ve read the story; I’ve completely skipped the second part of verse 1.
“Now the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 1:1 (ESV, emphasis mine)
“He loved them to the end.” Wow! Sit with those words for a few minutes. Jesus loved his disciples, his children, us to the end. He loves me, with all my faults, failures, sins, to the very end. His love is relentless.
As with most moments when I’m struck by a passage, I immediately start singing a hymn or song that connects me with the scripture. I love music. I can’t sing or play a musical instrument; but music still speaks to the depth of my soul. So, when I read and pondered John 13 this morning; my heart began to sing the old hymn “The Love of Christ is Rich and Free.” If you don’t know the song, my favorite version is done by Sandra McCracken.
The words to the song are amazing!
The love of Christ is rich and free;
Fixed on His own eternally;
Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove;
Long as He lives, His own He’ll love.
His loving heart engaged to be
Their everlasting Surety;
’Twas love that took their cause in hand,
And love maintains it to the end.
Chorus: Love cannot from its post withdraw;
Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law,
Can turn the Surety’s heart away;
He’ll love His own to endless day.
Love has redeemed His sheep with blood;
And love will bring them safe to God;
Love calls them all from death to life;
And love will finish all their strife.
He loves through every changing scene,
Nor aught from Him can Zion wean:
Not all the wanderings of her heart
Can make His love for her depart.
At death, beyond the grave, He’ll love;
In endless bliss, His own shall prove
The blazing glory of that love
Which never could from them remove.
For as long as Christ lives (that’s FOREVER), He will love me. Nothing I do can change that, nothing. He loves his own until endless day. I love that the hymn writer calls Jesus the Surety. His love is sure, it is sound and it is eternal.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)