“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” ~John 15:12
I’m blown away by the fact that Jesus showed his apostles how much he loved them by washing their feet the night he was betrayed. The Lord and Master of all got up from the meal, took off his coat, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a bowl, and washed their feet.
He washed their feet.
The King of the Universe knelt down and scrubbed 120 filthy, stinky, sweaty, dirty, disgusting toes. And all the stuff in-between the toes. He even washed the feet of Judas.
Knowing what Judas was planning to do — what he was about to do — Jesus still humbles himself and washes his feet. Jesus loves Judas that much. And then hours later he dies for Judas, this one who betrayed him. He dies for Peter, this one who denied him. He dies for all the apostles who fled and disowned him. He dies for the Jews who demanded he be killed. He dies for the Romans who carried out the execution. He dies for me, who’s just as guilty as any of these men in Scripture.
That’s a Savior’s love. No ifs, ands, or buts. Jesus never says I’ll love you if you treat me right. He doesn’t say I’ll love you when you get your act together. He doesn’t say I’ll love you when you grow up. Jesus’ love is not conditioned by right behavior or a good performance. It’s not based on your IQ or money or skin color or clothes or education or bloodline or status. Jesus actually says I’ll die for you when you’re my enemy. I’ll serve you while you’re sinning against me. I’ll give my life for you when you’re only thinking of yourself.
Because I love you this much.
And then he says, “Love each other as I have loved you.”
We don’t think about that enough. We don’t take it seriously enough.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is more important than preaching and giving and good works. Incredibly, he even says love is bigger than faith and hope. And if love is really more important than those things, then our conclusion must be that love is more important than everything. Love trumps our worship assemblies and worship styles. Love is bigger than our business meetings and budgets. It’s bigger than our doctrine and our tradition. Love is bigger and more important than any thing else out there that could ever possibly divide us.
If so — and I believe it with all my heart — then why aren’t we as committed to loving each other as we are to those other things that divide us and lead to arguing and fighting? Seriously. If love is the most important thing — and if you don’t believe that, then we’re not reading the same Bible — why do we fuss and complain?
As children of God and disciples of his Son, we must place unconditional, God-ordained love in the supreme position of our hearts and our minds and our church. All of our time and energy and strength should go into loving each other as Christ loves us.
52 days until the Cowboys begin their 2009 regular season against the Bucs in Tampa Bay. Of course, training camp and pre-season games are right around the corner. But, honestly, who can watch that? We’re all pointing to Sunday September 13. And to help us get there, we’re recognizing the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number.
Today’s #52 is tiny linebacker Dexter Coakley.
OK, he’s not exactly tiny. 5’10” and 236 pounds is good for a small 1-AA school like Appalachian State. And despite setting all kinds of national tackle and interception records there and winning every defensive award there was, Coakley slipped all the way to the Cowboys in the third round of the 1997 draft.
And they got a steal.
Coakley wound up starting in his rookie year and played eight seasons in Dallas before giving way to Bradie James and Bill Parcells’ 3-4 defense. He was named to three Pro Bowls playing on a Cowboys defense that was built on speed and pursuit. And he wound up all over the Cowboys team record books. Coakley racked up a team record seven consecutive seasons of at least 100 tackles. He’s got the fourth highest total tackles record in team history with 1,046. And he’s tied with Dennis Thurman for the most defensive TDs in a Cowboys career with five.
Despite his size, Coakley was durable, too. In his eight seasons in Dallas, he only missed one game. He started all 127 games he played for the Cowboys. None of those games, by the way, were playoff wins. But he’s still the second-best #52 in Cowboys history.
I’m still looking for information regarding the commemorative patch the Cowboys are going to wear on their uniforms this season to mark their 50th year. Anyone with info on that?
I’m also thrilled to share this bit of news with you: the NFL is going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the old AFL all year long. The original eight teams of the old American Football League will wear 1960 throwback unis for three games this season, several of them matchups between AFL alums. Of great interest to me is the old Houston Oilers. Yes, the Titans are going to throw on light blue jerseys with light blue helmets and white derrick logos and gray facemasks for three games this season. Plus, they get the bonus game at the Hall of Fame on August 9. I can’t wait to see that.
Of course, the Jets will be sporting their New York Titans uniforms and logos this year. And the Boston Patriots will be giving us the classic triangle-hat wearing-Revolution-soldier-snapping-the-ball look on their helmets.
The Cowboys will also be involved in something pretty neat. When they travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, they’ll actually be lining up against the old Dallas Texans. The Chiefs will be wearing bright red jerseys and helmets with the all-white Texas-shaped decal, including the gold star that designates the location of Dallas. Some Chiefs fans are upset that their team will be wearing a huge map of Texas on their hats this year, especially in a game against the Cowboys. But I think it’s super cool. The Cowboys and Texans never played a regular season game against each other before Lamar Hunt moved his team to Kansas City. Too bad this one’s at Arrowhead and not at the Cotton Bowl.