My memory verse this week:
"I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - I lay down my life for the sheep." -- John 10:14-15
NTC Day 52
John 13-14 and James 4-5
God so loved the world...he loves the sinful people he created...he loves those that turned their backs on him...he loves. That's why he sent his son Jesus to earth...to teach us about his love.
Jesus was and is our example of what love is. It's one thing to say "Love your brother," or "Love your enemies." but it's a totally different thing to actually DO it...and Jesus did.
John 13 tells about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples before the Passover meal that marks the beginning of the end of Jesus' life. He takes on the menial task that is usually done by servants to illustrate to his friends that we are to love each other enough to serve each other. He had come to love this group of men, not only as disciples, but as his close friends. What made it even more important, he knew that one of those friends was going to betray him...he knew which one, and still he served him and lowered himself to wash his betrayer's feet.
Imagine what was going on in the mind of Judas. The first few verses of chapter 13 tells us that the devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus...he knew what he was going to do. And yet, here is his Master, the one he was going to betray, washing his feet. He probably doesn't realize at this point that Jesus knows too.
John says that Jesus was deeply troubled...he knew what was going to happened, but was saddened that his friend was the one to start the ball of suffering rolling toward him. He wanted to give Judas one last chance to change his mind. He tells his disciples that one of them was going to betray him. When someone asks which one, Jesus says the one who he gives the next piece of bread, and then proceeds to give it to Judas. I can only imagine the look that passed between the two....Jesus, letting Judas know that he knew and giving him a chance to back out. When he didn't back out and took the piece of bread, he rejected that last chance and the devil entered him...it was over and Judas became part of God's plan.
What would have happened if Judas looked at Jesus and refused to take the piece of bread...and rejected the devil's instructions? History would have turned out differently, wouldn't it? But SOMEONE had to betray Jesus and cause Jesus to be turned over and caused to suffer and die...THAT was God's plan for our salvation. But...Judas HAD A CHOICE! He chose the world instead of God.
James 4 says "You adulterous people..." meaning those who are spiritually unfaithful. Many of us seem to love the world (the passions and ways of those who don't know Christ) more than we love God. If we don't obey God's commands, we are showing him that we are selfish and love our own worldly ways more than we love him. In that way, we are like Judas...we claim to love God, but we make the choice to turn our back on him.
For God so loved the world...yes, he loves us, even when we turn our backs on him. But are fooling ourselves if we think choosing ourselves over God will bring us peace, love or salvation. Jesus showed us how to find those things...he was our example. Love God, love others, serve others. When we do those things, we choose God over the world and heaven sings!