February is the month when lovers exchange flowers or confectionery or greeting cards, some of which are way overdone with too many hearts or kisses and once-a-year lace and bows. Many couples even get married in February because of its link to love.
When I think of Jesus’ love, I don’t see paper heart cards and once-a-year candy.
Remember the “Good Shepherd” picture where Jesus is carrying a rescued lamb on his shoulders? Or the one with Jesus standing in front of a door, knocking at the doors of our hearts? In fact, I can’t think of any image of Jesus in any situation in his lifetime in which he isn’t expressing real and all-the-time love for us.
But there is one picture I recall of Jesus that does look like an over-the-top kind of love. It’s the one where he’s eating “The Last Supper” with his disciples, including the disciple who would betray him that night and the other one who was going to deny him three times. He could predict what they would do. Yet, there he was, not overlooking their faults and failings but overloving them.
In most portraits of Jesus, he doesn’t look physically strong, but imagine what strength it must have taken for him to love those disciples despite their imperfections–especially at that Passover meal, realizing his death would soon follow it.
Of course, we know the ultimate proof of the love of Jesus was his death. He came to earth to be with us and willingly gave up his life for us, even for his present-day disciples–we who have shortcomings far worse than those first twelve.
Dear Jesus, help us to always picture you loving us, and give us the courage to express true loving thanks this February 14th and every day of our lives.