“The Vulnerability of Love”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Sunday, September 19, 2021 comes to us from April McIntyre of England, United Kingdom

John 13:1-17 NIV

1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

The Vulnerability Of Love

I was kneeling on the floor, holding a long, green sock. A few days earlier, my husband and undergone knee-replacement surgery, and it was my job to change the special compression socks recommended by the hospital. We both found this to be quite an ordeal! The socks were non-stretchy and difficult to maneuver over the heel, and I was afraid my clumsy attempts would cause him even more pain. Yet, somehow, we found ourselves laughing at the absurdity as we pulled and smoothed and sweated, feeling so helpless yet brought so close.

I had a strange sense of Jesus kneeling beside me, cradling that vulnerable foot, maneuvering the sock gently upward. He seemed to say to me, “This is love lavished on what is hurting, soiled, or lost. This is my love for you to give.” As I felt my husband’s trust in me, I realized how vulnerable the love of Jesus makes us – exposing our embarrassment and awkwardness, yet giving a real insight into the sacrificial love of God. Jesus asks us to do as he did – not necessarily in washing feet but in humbly and patiently caring for one another in whatever ways are needed. It’s not easy, but I believe this kind of love lies at the heart of being a follower of Jesus.

Prayer Focus:


Thought for the Day:

Letting someone care for me is an act of love.


Father God, thank you for your love for us. Help us to share your loving care with someone today. Amen. April McIntyre


Friends – I really appreciate April McIntyre’s quote in which Jesus says, “This is my love for you to give.” Each of us is given Jesus’ love, and then offered the opportunities to give that love to those around us. Those who are caregivers, whether professionally or personally, offer this kind of love every day to those whom they have been called to serve.

As I have said before, scripture tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and of course, that always rings true. Still, my recent illness reminds me of something else I have written before: It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but it is also easier.

Because it can be so difficult for many of us to receive help, it is important to remember to thank God and remember that the one giving to us is sharing Jesus’ love, which has become theirs to give.

--Pastor bea