Thursday, April 9
The Deadline and the Bottom Line
Busy leaders sometimes signal that they will have to end a conversation soon in order to make another engagement. Jesus usually seemed to have all the time in the world for his disciples. But that final Passover, after instituting the meal of the New Covenant, Jesus signaled that he had another meeting to get to: “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father” (John 14:30-31).
Notice the direction of his love—it was first and foremost for the Father. Understanding this makes sense of what otherwise can look like a contradiction. On the one hand, John tells us that God so loved the world that he sent his only-begotten Son so that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17); on the other hand, he tells us not to love the world with its craving for physical pleasure and pride in human achievements and possessions (1 John 2:15-16). So, God loves the world, but we are not to love the world? We, like Jesus (according to his human nature), are to love God the Father, first and foremost because only God has the power to redeem, heal, and deliver what we cannot. Our best intentions and efforts cannot fix what is broken in human nature, neither in ourselves nor in others. Only by loving the Father can we have any share in the pure, redemptive love that God has for the world. Otherwise, we are too easily compromised.
Jesus met his deadline at the cross. He demonstrated his love for the Father by taking on himself the sins of the world, and giving his life so that the world might have life through him. That was his bottom line. Now, whenever we participate in his meal of the New Covenant we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26). That is our deadline, when he comes again. We are drawn up into the love that the Son has for the Father, into their eternal bond. That is our bottom line, his relationship to the Father lived in us.
Prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, teach us to love you as your Son loved you, even when it means denying our cravings and being humbled. Teach us to love one another as he loved us.
- How long can you generally endure an unfulfilled craving before you finally cave in? How amazing is it that Jesus endured the sufferings he did, without caving in?
- In what ways does the Lord’s Supper prove the point that “the Lord satisfies our [cravings] with good things” (Psalm 103:5)?