This morning it felt like God was taking me into the Upper Room with Jesus. I have read the history of this last Passover many times. I have preached through the teachings of our Savior on that night. I even washed some people’s feet on one occasion because it seemed to be the way I was being led to express my love to them. And I have often put into practice the meaning of the foot-washing lesson by serving the body of Christ in love.
But this time is different.
As usual, this coincides with things I am going through. There are personal things that are just a fact of life. There is our town that went through a disastrous flood-event a month ago that had us evacuated for almost three weeks and many in our community suffering the loss of home and/or possessions. And there is the simple fact that the word of God is living and active, and the Holy Spirit is constantly teaching us the multi-faceted applications of God’s word to every day and experience of our lives.
This present journey through the Upper Room scene leading to Jesus’ crucifixion has me looking at Jesus through the eyes of his disciples. I wonder what his face looked like as he loved his disciples to the end even while about to become sin and a curse for us. When his face become troubled as he told the disciples that Judas would betray him, was it a look they had never seen before, or something familiar that made them immediately feel troubled along with him?
On one side, it feels horrible to put myself in the disciples’ place. I can tremble with the awareness of being called a betrayer and wonder what it would have felt like to repent right then and there. I barely need to imagine what it would be like to be a denier and know that the Savior had just told everybody what I am really like on the inside. Being a deserter requires no imagination at all, but it does take a huge effort to look into Jesus’ eyes and consider everything he says that night as exactly what a deserter needs to hear.
On the other side, there is a way to get to know Jesus in his love for me when he tells me that I am a denier and then I see his eyes searching me in love, and I listen to the words that come from his mouth, and I feel his love inviting me to the center stage feature of the cross where his love for me was demonstrated perfectly and completely forever. There is a way to know Jesus in his love for me when I have no doubt that I am a deserter, and that he has exposed me as publicly as he desires, and then I listen to what he is saying in wonder that this is what he would choose to communicate after telling me what a failure of a friend and disciple I am going to be.
As I prayer-journaled through the Scriptures this morning, the one thing I could state as a certainty was that the promises of the gospel are all mine. I couldn’t seem to say anything about myself for certain, whether good or bad, but the certainty of God’s grace in the gospel is an indisputable reality in my heart.
This means that, no matter how I feel about myself as a sinner and a failure, it is by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that I am saved. It is by a faith that God himself has given me that I attach to the grace he expresses to me in that superabounding way that is greater than all my sin, and failure, and…
Well, let’s just say that I quite easily exhaust the thesaurus with nouns that describe my accomplishments in sin and failure and am almost moved to silence with the wonder of the nouns and superlatives that describe the glories of Jesus’ love and grace and mercy towards me.
This morning, I found myself feeling very real with God about what he was telling me about myself. I was almost trembling with wonder that he enabled me to look at him through the eyes of each of the disciples and how they received what he was doing and saying. Things that would normally trigger me into hiding now have me trusting that if I will just fix my eyes on him, and consider him the way Scripture describes, that I will see the love of the cross for a sinner. And feel it comforting me where I mourn.
As soon as I finished writing this as my sharing to our home church, a favorite old song popped into my head. It was the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”. I looked on Youtube to see if there was something I could sing along to as part of my worship and this version grabbed my attention. I ended up crying in thankfulness all the way through it as it concluded everything God was ministering to my heart this morning. I hope it has the same effect of wonder-filled worship on you.
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
 O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, © Public Domain, words by George Matheson