It has only happened three times in my entire life. The first time I held each one of our children my heart nearly jumped from my chest. In looking at photos from those days in the hospital I re-live a little bit of that feeling. While I still love Joey, Sarah and Joshua deeply, there was something about that first time that was truly unique. Just how much love are we capable of? This week's Gospel explores the depths of love.
Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another." John 15:9-17
Jesus, at the Last Supper, is on a mission. This time with His disciples is special. It will only happen once. He knows what's coming but His disciples are unaware. Jesus wants to make sure that they really understand His message. Jesus uses His most important, deepest relationship to explain His point. Jesus speaks of the love that exists between He and His Father, the kind of love that surpasses all others.
Recently I have been putting a lot of time into writing my book. It has been four and a half years since I started and I just finished the draft of the first section last night. Here is an excerpt from the book that I believe describes this love that Jesus is talking about:
God lovingly created us desiring that we would freely choose to identify with Him and belong to His family. It seemed like a “perfect” plan except that free will opens the door to choosing to disobey God. Why would God allow us to choose if our choices might end in death? In a word, the answer is love. I’m not sure I understood the true reason behind God’s decision to do this until I became a father. Inherent in a child’s willful behavior we see the incredible choice that God the Father made to allow us to choose. Only a God who embodied unconditional, unlimited love could allow His creation to freely choose to reject Him over and over. This is where we understand why God would risk our disobedience and rejection. God lets us choose because He wants us to choose Him, out of love. (From Our Journey With God)
We will love one another when we learn to remain in God's incredible, unconditional, sacrificial love!