Hopes all things

Live HIS Love Series (1 Corinthians 13)

Verse 7 – Love “always hopes”

Jesus has just done something unthinkable, unimaginable. And as he now sits back down at the dinner table he asks, “do you understand what I have done for you?” (John 13:34).  What had Jesus just done? He is sitting back down after an awkward and humbling moment where he washed (with his own hands!) each pair of his 12 disciple’s feet–one by one.

Do you understand what I have done for you?

My friends in following Christ, fellow Christians, Jesus is teaching this lesson while looking directly into our eyes. Jesus-followers. Christians. Disciples. He is with his small devoted group packed into the Upper Room; he’s not with thousands of seekers atop a mountain. He has already been there, already done that.  Now he is about to be arrested and crucified, but not before this last lesson. In the historic events of this day in Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Jesus issues a direct challenge to us.

Do you understand what I have done for you?

I’m guessing most of us have heard about nature and nurture? These are the ways we have been formed as we have grown up. These are the ways we are formed by both our environment and our natural personhood. These have wired you. And when it comes to love we have all been wired to see love as dominantly something for self-fulfillment. In the emotional; in the physical. The problem… Our drive for that self-fulfillment is unbridled, and we inevitably hurt others by trying to serve ourselves. What is worse, we don’t even always know when we’re doing it. The inevitable extends to how you will also be hurt by others. All of this because the ways we have been wired to see love are corrupted.

Do you understand what I have done for you?

Jesus would reformat your understanding of love. He takes up our corrupted wiring, and sets us anew. This evening Jesus inverts the equation of a self-fulfillment love; he turns that form of love on its head; he reverses polarities. So that, instead of draining others for your fulfillment, he calls you: use love for their fulfilment. Jesus washed feet. There is nothing in that for him.

Jesus own words to you after sitting back down:

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13)

Do we see it? Loving (like Jesus) everyone else in our church is what shows those outside who we follow. It points to a practical result of following Jesus: reconciliation.

In fact, Jesus says more on this. A moment later on that Maundy Thursday evening Jesus prays for not just those in the room that night but also for you and me, as he says, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (John 17:20). Jesus prayed specifically for you, and said:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17).

A Jesus-modeled love to one another is to be our reputation–that we may be one, in complete unity. And why? Then the world will know that Jesus is who he says he is: the Son of God sent to reconnect you back to God, to one another and to your purpose.

Now don’t go too far here! There is no church that looks like perfect unity, perfect oneness, or a perfect model of Christ’s love to one another. And, well, we will not be the church to suddenly, after 2,000 years of churches, rise above and somehow be that type of perfection. But we can strive for it boldly and courageously, and the world will see that, others will see that. Churches typically stand out these days for other reasons such as music quality, production quality, really hip and good-looking people up front leading or with popping social media.

Meanwhile, Jesus is washing our feet. And then asking: Do you understand what I have done for you?

Let’s stand out because of our own unexpected, at times even awkward, expressions of unity, oneness, and Jesus-modeled love to one another. As Paul writes that love “always hopes,” let’s hear Jesus flooding our movement with the hope of reconciliation preached by how we live HIS love together, especially when it’s a challenge. Being a church with so much diversity requires bold and courageous decisions, it requires each of us to say yes even if its awkward and different, but in doing so we are leaning into the answer of Jesus’ question:

“Do you understand what I have done for you?”

Want to hear more?
Subscribe to our podcasts on Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Want to stay in touch?
Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Want to connect in person?
Join us on Sundays.