Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father…
I. THERE WAS NOT MUCH IN THEM TO LOVE — YET HE LOVED THEM. I have no wish to disparage these early disciples. Everything betokens that most of them were what the narrative tells us — unlearned Galilean fishermen, who had been nurtured in the flee, clear air of Nature, and so they had to the end a sort of frankness about them which was very enjoyable. I think that was something in them which Jesus Christ appreciated. It must not be forgotten that there was also in them an unselfish readiness to endure sacrifice in the cause of Him who had charmed their hearts and excited the questioning wonder of their minds. Yet in spite of all this, what was there particularly in these men that one like Christ should find to love? I think of the sensitiveness of His nature, the gentleness of His disposition, the purity of His thought, the utter unselfishness of His purposes, the grandeur and sweep of His ideas, His conceptions of nature, of man, of God. What was there that Christ could perceive in these rude, uncultured, somewhat coarse men, men most limited in their thoughts, who had little of what we call spirituality in them to attract Him towards them? Yet He gave them His very heart; He loved them with a love that is simply matchless and astounding. Ah! doubtless He saw more in them to love than common eyes could possibly see. For the greatest natures always do discover beauties of character in the humblest which escape the observation of ordinary people. But look at the Divine side. See Him as the Incarnate Son of God, the Holy One, the Perfect, the Divine One, and how the wonder grows that He should have humbled Himself to associate on terms of generous love with the disciples! Why has Christ loved you — your heart, mind, soul? It is a fact; that you know. Why is it? Ah! that you cannot answer, I cannot answer, except we say, It is the nature of God to love, and the more weak, feeble, helpless, unworthy we are, the more compassionately does He bend to pour the fulness of His heart into our sinning lives.
II. THERE WAS MUCH IN THEM THAT TESTED HIS LOVE — YET HE LOVED THEM. It is not necessary to speak much of the trial that Christ's first disciples were to Him over and over again. Quarrelling, petulance, scepticism, blindness of thought, cowardliness, treachery have no power to destroy that supreme love. How often we have stumbled at the revelations He has made, and, through a doubting spirit which we have encouraged, have asked foolish sceptical questions simply for the sake of asking them! How we have prayed for more light and clearer visions of God, when close at our side, all around us, have been manifestations of the Father! How, when asked to watch with and for Christ, we have pleaded weariness and slept!
III. THERE WAS A CONTINUOUS NEED OF HIS LOVE AND HE LOVED THEM UNTO THE END. Thus His life was a discipline of love to them, His death a sacrifice of love for them.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
WEB: Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.