Growing Love

Wednesday, Feb. 11

Just as with all the other spiritual traits that are involved in the sanctification process, so is love. It’s not something that just happens or that comes in one big lump. Love was still an issue with the disciples shortly before the crucifixion. Jesus had to rebuke them for squabbling over who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Lk. 22:24-30). That’s not love! Jesus demonstrated agape love just before the crucifixion. John 13:1. “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” In the hours that followed he washed their feet, he celebrated the Passover Feast with them, he revealed his traitor, he predicted that Peter would deny him, he prepared the disciples for his ascension into heaven, and he was crucified. During these few hours before an agonizing death his focus was on his disciples. That’s love! They apparently got the message. Tradition has it that Peter didn’t feel worthy of being crucified like Christ, and would rather be crucified upside down. That’s a bit of a change, no doubt helped by Jesus’ dialogue with him (John 21:15-23. And of course the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost had a profound effect on them, too. Yes, it’s a work of divine grace, but it’s not automatic; we need to do our part, too. The power to change is a gift of God but we need to accept the gift and put it to use. There was a remarkable change in Peter after the resurrection. He raised a bit of an issue as to how Jesus would treat John, but otherwise, there seemed to be a loving, harmonious relationship among all the disciples. Agape love is total commitment. No cost is too great. Peter is an example. He eventually was martyred, and I think he accepted it the same way Jesus did.

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