Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Controversial Love of Jesus

Lent Day 44.

Maunday Thursday.

Or, "Commandment Thursday."

On Thursday, Jesus went back to Jerusalem from Bethany. Here, on this day, He spent His last final hours feasting, loving, serving, and instructing His disciples.

Not just His current disciples, but all of us to come.

Thursday is the day of the Last Supper.

Of all the things Jesus instituted as a part of this day, this commandment is the one that resonates down through the ages.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another...
John 13:34-35

Throughout His life, Jesus demonstrated what this looked like.

Truth is, Jesus' brand of love went against the grain of the religious of His day. 

Jesus' love was like nails scratching on a chalkboard.

Jesus' love was controversial.

To understand, one has to know the social ladder of Jesus' day.

Start at the top rung and go down:

At the top were the Jewish religious leaders.

The wealthy.

The blue collar workers.

The poor, the sick, the lame...



Children & Slaves.

Canaanites and Samaritans.

Tax Collectors.


Look at this list closely. What do you see?

I see Jesus turning the social ladder upside down when it came to loving people!

Jesus turned the social ladder upside down when it came to love!

He went to the bottom of the rung and moved up.

One of His first disciples was a tax collector.

The first person He introduced Himself to as Messiah was a woman....and a Samaritan at that!

He always had time for children and "the least of these."

He touched the untouchables.

He healed the sick.

He ate with tax collectors and sinners, alike...He even allowed one sinner (a woman!) to wash His feet with her tears...

He gave honor and dignity to a Canaanite woman who wanted scraps from His table.

And, then, at this Last Supper, He wrapped a towel around His waist, and lowered Himself to the floor, washing His disciples feet. Serving them. Setting a new example, and a new commandment.

 For I have given you an example—you should do just as I have done for you.  I tell you the solemn truth, the slave is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:15-17

Jesus demolishes the social ladder completely.

Jesus stoops as low as He can to love wholly and completely.

He even dies on a cross, saying, "Greater love has no man than this: that He lay down His life for His friends."

That's the New Commandment He passed on to me. To you.

Love low.

Love great.

Live loved.

Here's what Jesus taught us that night in the upper room:  

Lovingly wash the feet of the unlovable, untouchable, and unthinkably awful people of this world.  

Not just those who are easy to love.

I confess.

This is a hard teaching.

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