“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own…” (Jn. 13:1)
Of course, Jesus loved “his own.” His “own” were the first 12 disciples. He loved them because they had steadfastly followed Him for three years and because they were risking their lives to still be with Him. He also loved them not because of anything they had done at all—He just did.
Jesus knew them better than they knew themselves. He knew their fickleness, foibles, misplaced ambitions, and petty squabbles.
Sometimes the more we know about someone, the less we love her or him—but this isn’t true with Jesus. No matter how much Jesus knows about us—and let’s remember that He knows all—He will never love us any less.
Jesus loved His own then, and He loves His own now. We, like the first disciples, profess Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We, like them, want to be His followers. We, like them, want to be His agents of love, servants of peace, and ambassadors of grace. And we, like them, are often flawed and foolish.
They belonged to Jesus. We belong to Jesus. To belong to Jesus is to be loved by Jesus.
Although we need to celebrate that Jesus loves His own, we must not think or say that Jesus loves only His own. Jesus loves His own, and He also loves those who aren’t yet His own.
Jesus loving His own doesn’t curtail His ability to love all of God’s children. He has a special fondness for His own, and He also has a special yearning for those who aren’t yet within His embrace. Jesus’ deepest desire is that all of God’s children will someday be His own.
Today I hope we’re encouraged to claim and celebrate that we, like the first disciples, are Jesus’ “own.” Just as they belonged to Him, so do we. Just as they were totally loved, so are we.
- How has being one of Jesus’ “own” changed your life?
- Jesus wants us to share the special yearning He has for those who may not yet belong to Him. How do you, or how could you, express that special yearning to others?
- When people look at you or listen to you, is your belonging to Jesus clear to them by what they see or hear? If not, how could you alter what you do and say so that they did?