Our Devotion for Thursday, April 6, 2023, is taken from: Amazing Grace Devotions for Lent by Michael Hoy.
34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
John 13:34 NIV
What makes this new commandment new is the call to love “as I have loved you.” That kind of love gets to the true depths of amazing grace. Many may wonder if that amazing grace could have extended all the way to someone like Judas Iscariot. Even after two millennia, few think this betrayer is worth our time or love. But Jesus would be one of those few. Consider, too, that soon after Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, Peter also would become a betrayer. But Jesus would not be done loving Peter either.
We tend to put limitations on love, even in the Golden Rule when we say do to others “as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). But Jesus’ love is unlimited and for all, even betrayers. Christ loves us when we are sinful and go against his will and his way. Only when we trust in his all-encompassing love will our own love truly begin to grow beyond limits. Christ’s new commandment is for us to have a boundless love, a love of grace, a love without end, like the love he has for us.
1 John 4:7-8 states: “7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” The author of 1 John emphasizes and affirms Christ’s call for his followers to be identified by the way they love one another and others. In his reflection, Michael highlights the challenge of loving others as Christ has loved us. Loving the way Christ loves requires us to practice a forgiving, redemptive, and restorative kind of love. The kind of love that forgives offenses, redeems the lost, and restores the wayward. We find Christ offering us a tangible example as he forgives and restores Peter.
Each of, at one point or another, have found ourselves needing to be loved, especially when we are or have acted unlovingly. While we readily seek and welcome the forgiveness of God, it is much more challenging for us to offer forgiveness to others. As we move, ever closer, to Calvary, let us remember Christ’s sacrifice stands as a lasting testament of God’s love for us.
Lord, may we love as you have loved us. Amen.