“He loved them straight through to the end”
My professor of Greek was on the translation committee for the New International Version of the Bible and known as a brilliant scholar. We loved his classes because of how knowledgeable he was and for his excellent teaching method. He possessed a marvellous efficiency of language. He never spoke more words than necessary to convey his thought.
One day we came to class dreading his presence as he had given us a particularly difficult test the class before and we all were in dread of receiving back our marked papers. He came into the class with his mortarboard hat on, Geneva gown swirling about him like Darth Vader’s gown. Striding to the front of the class he bowed his head to pray.
We heard a long sigh from his lips and then he prayed, “Brains, brains, brains, Lord give us brains. Amen.” We knew instantly that the test results were worse than we had imagined. This was my professor and in spite of how tough he was on us we loved his classes for how much we learned.
When we came to translate John 13 he gave us his own idea of how best to translate verse 1 the last part. He wanted to help us understand that John was making a very powerful statement about the tenacity of Jesus’ love. He stressed the enduring quality of Jesus’ love that it was a love to the uttermost. Nothing could surpass the love of Jesus for His people.
Sometimes in this life someone who loves us fails to endure through the trials of life with us and we are left alone. In some desperately poor countries starving parents will take one of their children into the city and abandon them simply because they do not have enough to feed everyone at home. It seems unbelievable to imagine, yet circumstances cause some poor parents to go to such an extreme in their despair. They simply cannot see any other way out.
We who live in relative riches in this world cannot imagine a parent’s love allowing such a thing to happen, yet it does daily in some areas of our world.
Then there is the case of children who abuse their parents and abandon them by never visiting, never making sure they have the necessities of life. We may wonder at how the children were raised and think some fault lies with the parents, yet there is a terrible breakdown in the love of the family somewhere for what is now called, “elder abuse”.
God’s love is forever. When He makes His love to flood a believer’s heart, that love will never turn cold for any reason. We may fail the Lord in a host of ways as did the disciples the night of the Last Supper, we may not do what we promised, yet God abides faithful. He calls the wayward Christian back to Himself. He causes things in our life to overwhelm us in order to drive us back home to His loving arms.
Whatever has been the way you sense you have failed the Lord, Jesus’ words in our verse today reassure you there is a welcome for you when you return. Having adopted you into His family, the Lord will never, for any reason cast you out. If you have wandered away my friend, come back today and be restored, know again the love of the God Who made you. He tenderly waits, come and come now. “He loves you straight through to the end.”