Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Tonight we begin our observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Tonight we listen to water trickling off feet and remember Christ who bent to serve. Tonight we hear again his command to love one another. Tonight we break the bread remembering the Passover lamb and the bread in Jesus’ hands, broken and given. Tonight we remember Jesus stripped of all honor and glory. Tonight this Jesus is in our midst.
We may want a Barabbas to wage war against our enemies, but what we get is something far more profound: the incarnation of God’s incomprehensible love.
Love is not a simple thing. It is often costly. It was very costly for Jesus. It was costly for his followers. None of the twelve, according to the tradition, got to die in their beds except John – and he, only after having suffered in the persecution under Domitian.
I met a man once who had been tortured for the name of Christ. What infuriated his torturers the most was that they could not prevent him from loving them as they worked so brutally to break him. I saw the scars of their hate. They could imprison his body but not the Spirit at work within him. They could not stop love.
Sometimes Christian talk about love is more like a high-end neighborliness. But the love in Jesus was fierce and unyielding. Unbroken. And the love in his followers was often tested by trials we cannot imagine. This is what we recognize in this Jesus tonight and in the days to come: a completely determined love: a love determined to change the human heart, a love determined to change my heart, a love determined to make us holy in love.