Today’s Gospel: John 13:36-38

A great deal has happened before we reach these four short verses in the 13th chapter of John’s gospel.

Jesus has gathered his friends for a final meal, washed their feet in an act of servanthood, and commanded them to love one another as he has loved them. He has announced the imminent betrayal by one of the disciples. Judas has left the gathering and gone into the night to complete his betrayal. Then Jesus focuses on his mission and preparing his disciples for the reality that he will be with them only a little longer, and that where he is going, they cannot come. Our text picks up with the brief exchange between Peter and Jesus, as Peter asks, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you,” to which Jesus responds by predicting Peter’s denial of him.

Yes, even as devoted as Peter is to Jesus, he will deny even knowing Jesus. Throughout our own journey of faith, there will be times when we, like Peter, boldly profess our willingness to give up everything for the sake of Jesus. There will also be times, as Jesus foretells, when we will deny his role in our lives, publicly or privately. The good news is–regardless of what point in our lives we find ourselves–Jesus gave up His life for ours all for love. Jesus was willing to do this for you and for me.

On this Good Friday we come face to face with death. Standing near the cross of Jesus we experience the power of God’s unconditional love–for the cross is more than a place of suffering and death, it is a place of love–love divine, all loves excelling. And how we need that kind of love. The cross is love made concrete. The cross is love made real. While we may want to turn away, today we must gaze upon the cross and touch it in order to fully experience just how much Jesus loves us all. There is no crown of glory without the cross of Calvary.

Jesus to Calvary did go,
His love for the worlds to show;
What he did there brought hope from despair;
O how He loves you,
O how He love me,
O how he loves you and me
(Text: Kurt Kaiser)

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Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and depth of your love: in humble hope and fear may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Common Worship: Times and Seasons)


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