Daily D – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; . . . .
ECCLESIASTES 3:1-2 (CSB)
Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father.
Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
No person should die without proper preparation. Financial affairs need to be set in order. Inheritance issues should be settled. Care should be arranged for dependent survivors. The disposition of physical remains should be resolved.
In other words, we should not go to the day of our death carelessly. Otherwise, we create burdens for others to bear unnecessarily.
A phrase oft repeated in John’s Gospel is that “Jesus’ time had not yet come.” That was then. This is now. His time had come.
So it was that Jesus began to set things in order more dramatically and definitely than beforehand. Jesus had things to do. Jesus had things to say. Jesus prepared his disciples for the absence of his physical presence and guidance in exchange for his indwelling presence to come.
John 13-17 is defined by depth and breadth, width and height unparalleled. These moments and these messages are weighty indeed. They are grace and truth. They are life.
So many favorite Bible verses committed to memory are excised from these pages. How much more enduring to read them in context, to appreciate the edifice upon which they stand. Take time to read these chapters-almost exclusively written in red-slowly, prayerfully, thoughtfully, with resolute reflection.
See them as one piece. Hear them as the final drama leading to the cross and all that lay beyond it. Look at Jesus with great care. Here is God in the flesh. What does he do? As your English writing teacher instructed you, “Show, don’t tell,” so Jesus kneels and washes feet. This is how God relates to those who are his. He loves to the end, and beyond propriety as we might define it.
This washing of feet is not a sacrament to receive more grace. This is not an ordinance we must perform again and again. This is not an opportunity to debate theology. This is God doing for us what we could do for ourselves, and perhaps, what we should do for others when they are in need of such assistance.
The point is this: Do not get stuck in considering all the details. Instead, draw in on the bigger picture. God With Us entered this world as a tiny baby in the natural way. Now he kneels and serves before he begins to speak. He shows, then he tells.
This is not the only thing he will show his closest followers. He will show them, as John says here in 13:1, the full extent of his love. “He loved them to the end.”
He loves you no less.
He loves you now and forever.
What Jesus did for his disciples then, he did for us. We are the beneficiaries of his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Watch carefully now. Listen deeply now. Do not miss a moment. It all comes down to this. It begins on bent knees. Let us assume that position.
I will kneel, watch, and listen as Jesus demonstrates how much he loves you and me.
Our Father, if ever we needed you to open our eyes, it is now. If ever we needed you to unstop our ears, it is now. If ever we are to go to our knees, it is now. Open our eyes that we may see. Open our ears that we may hear. Teach us to kneel that we may humble ourselves for grace and truth, for life. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”