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Communion (1995 Series)

The Full Extent of His Love

Scheduled for February 26

(John 13:1 NIV)  It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

 

There is a certain fascination within John’s writings, for only John among the Gospel authors was an intimate friend of our Lord.  Matthew was not among the inner four;  Luke, as far as we know, never met the Lord in person; Mark was a young man at the time of the Crucifixion.  Only John knew Jesus well.  His writings reflect it;  they are full of the personal kinds of remembrances you find when the author writes about someone he loves deeply.  It is apt, therefore, that John begins the story of the Last Supper with the words, “he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

 

If, without having read this passage, I were to ask you, “How did Jesus show the full extent of his love?”, you would probably reply, “At the Cross.”  You’d be right.  This verse, therefore, shows us that the Last Supper was simply the first act in the Crucifixion.  It was not just simply the Passover which happened the night before;  Jesus planned this Supper as part of His trip to the Cross.  He planned it long before, when he had Moses institute the Passover.  From before time the Cross was in view, and therefore this supper was in view.  In it, Jesus begins to show his love for them.

 

Not just his love;  the “full extent” of his love.  It was as if he were saying, “Now you will see it all.”  We see it in the Passover, a picture of redemption.  We see it in the Garden, where Jesus wrestles with fear.  We see it on the Cross.  Is there any greater love than a man dying for another?

 

Look again at that verse.  Not just “his love;”  not just “the full extent” -- look at the verb.  He showed them.  He did not tell them;  he did not reveal some startling new doctrine.  He showed them.  The prophets revealed God’s love, and mirrored it as best they were able.  Jesus showed them in person.  The Lord’s Supper marks the full revealing.

 

What does it then reveal to us?  Love is, first and foremost, a sacrifice.  In animal sacrifice the Passover was proclaimed, and the death angel passed over Israel..  At the Cross, Love Himself became the sacrifice, and the death angel will pass over us.  When he returns, we shall rise to meet him.  The price of this victory over the grave was paid for us at Calvary;  for this reason we remember the full extent of his love.

 

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