John 13:31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The journey with Christ continues in this very intimate night with the disciples. Jesus washes the disciples feet and then they fellowship around the table. It is a blessed event until Judas can bear the burden of his duplicity no longer and he runs out. Jesus knows what all of this means and realizes that the events are being set into motion that will ultimately lead him to the cross. It is at that cross where heaven and earth will collide and the pathway for adoption into God’s family made possible for his followers. They have no idea what this means but he gives a hint when he calls them “little children.” The term is used here for the first time and it is one of sweet endearment for those whom have become his beloved and who will eventually realize their place within his kingdom. The explosive power of the cross will release the overflowing holy love of God and those adopted into his family will be filled with God’s nature which will be visible to the world around. This is the glory of the Father, to be seen in the Son and in the many children so that the world will recognize the family by their overwhelming love for one another.
Most parents would do just about anything for their children. This past weekend our two daughters were together which is quite unusual since they live several thousand miles apart. I have to confess that I was just a little jealous because when we talked on the phone they were having such a wonderful time together — I just wanted to be there with them too! Enjoying the presence of our children and now our granddaughter is a blessing to us and a reminder that for the love of our children — we would do just about anything.
Our heavenly Father was willing to do what it would take to save his children. God was to have been glorified through his children — his reflection made visible to the world. Because his children refused to be in an intimate relationship the glory of God was not being revealed. The Lenten journey is consumed by an overwhelming love of dearly beloved lost children. It’s a path that led Christ to give up himself for the sake of the children.
God's children are not defined by any kind of race, citizenship or religion. When we see the news this week we are greatly disturbed for there are those who seem to be openly against Christianity. Do we think that this is something new? Jesus, on the very night that he was betrayed, knew exactly what it meant for the world around him to be hostile. He was betrayed by one of those within his inner circle and yet, he went to the cross -- even for Judas!
As we enter the journey with our Lord we are to consider what we might do for the love of the children. A world of lost children, even those who may call themselves our enemies, are in need of restoration and this requires sacrifice. If we truly love God, then we have experienced holy love. This holy love compels us to participate in the Lenten journey and sacrificially live in service to others. Holy love is not protective of self-interest, it is self-sacrificing for the sake of others. Following Jesus to the cross is heart-breaking because only there can the immeasurable love of God be released all for the sake of the beloved children.
Lord, our hearts break for our world today and we are tempted to take a protective stance. May we be willing to follow you to the cross, sacrificing all for the sake of those whom you love. Amen.
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