Tonight is the night that Jesus began to show us the full extent of his love. He gathered with his disciples and performed the work of a lowly household slave by washing their feet. He then served as the host of the Passover meal, reworking it to be something that would commemorate his sacrifice for us. After the supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he begged the Father to let the cup of suffering go on by him. I believe that in the garden, Jesus began to experience all the grief and agony that is common to those of us who are human beings. Had he not been upheld by the Father, the grief would have been overwhelming. As it is, his sorrow is unfathomable to us.
As I think about that night, there are some things that I feel God wants me to learn. The first is the sacrificial love I am to show to others. As Jesus not only gave his life, but also humbled himself to do a dirty, abasing job, so I am called to do whatever it takes to show love to others, especially to my brothers and sisters in Christ. While I may not be called to host dinners, I am called to invite others into the presence of the One who gave his life. I can do this by proclaiming the Gospel to those who haven't embraced it. I can also live out the Gospel as I relate to others and let them see Jesus in me by my love.
As I look at Jesus in the garden, I see a God who has gone through pain and suffering. I don't believe that the Father intends for us to live a pain free life. Instead I believe that Jesus entered into our pain and grief while here on earth, and that he calls us to also enter into his suffering. I don't like suffering at all, but it is a huge comfort to know that Jesus has experienced what I go through, and understands. I don't belong to a god who tells me to buck up and take it like a man. I belong to a Father who understands, who is there to comfort me in my affliction, and who has redeemed, and is redeeming everything in my life. I am part of a kingdom whose history is a salvation history, a kingdom where all things will finally be made right, a kingdom whose King went through the worst that death and hell could muster and came out victorious. Because of this, there is nothing I need to fear.
May you find comfort and encouragement in remembering this night.
From my opportunity to teach in our gathering this morning:
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