Bible Reading: John 13:1-20

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)

Jesus humbled Himself to incarnate as a man so that He could portray God’s love to this world. Jesus came to love His own, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, casting out demons. Amongst all these, Jesus gave the gift of faith that those who were healed would believe and be forgiven. Jesus, Himself said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).

Even amongst Jesus’ disciples, there were tax collectors. Take Matthew, for example. The amount of public shame associated with a tax collector sitting in his tax booth could be synonymous with a prostitute in the middle of an act in today’s culture. Tax collectors were liars who scammed everyone for money. They were corrupt government officials who did not pity the financial stress of others. Yet, as Matthew sat in his booth, Jesus came and called Matthew to follow Him. Jesus then went to recline with tax collectors and break bread. Here is God, the Holy of holies reclining with the sinner of sinners. See God’s love for this world! What vile sins are hidden in your heart? Behold, Christ is willing to come in and dwell with you! Open your heart for Him!

This is the love that came at Christmas. It was a bright shining hope for this broken and rejected world. Yet, we often complain that today is different. After 2000 years, we can no longer see Christ in the flesh, and such love seems to have vanished. But that is not the case. Jesus promised that having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them also to the end. That means, His love lasts for eternity. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The love He showed to tax collectors and sinners while He was still on earth is the same love He shows to us today. 

Notice how Jesus demonstrated His love through the action of feet-washing, a dirty act reserved for non-Jewish slaves. Jesus not only cleansed feet, but He has stooped down as a servant to all to cleanse sinful hearts by dying for sin on the cross. This is Christ’s love which is still at work today. While Jesus was on earth, He visited those who were broken. Today, Christ still works through the power of the Holy Spirit, who visits helpless sinners and opens to them the bright light of the gospel for their salvation. Christmas was not a one-off event. It lasts to this day!

Lord, thank You for the love that You showed on Christmas. Thank You that Your love continues to this day. Bring us to comprehend even more deeply Your love for us this Christmas. Draw us closer to You and teach us to love You more each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.