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…
1. In order to do anything, anywhere, we must know. This is so in the natural world. The laws of nature are determinate over her whole empire, and the triumphs of science are but the discoveries of occult law. It is so also in the moral universe. There law is supreme and intelligent, whether revealed in Scripture or written on the heart. This we must know to obey, for where there is no knowledge of it there is no transgression. There are some who think that religion is a thing of emotion, and has nothing to do with the intellect, and herein those old systems, which so long swayed the spirits of men, were essentially defective. Christianity appeals to the whole man. Ignorance is not the mother of devotion, but of squalor and crime. Christ came that whosoever believed in Him should not "walk in darkness," etc.
2. This knowledge must be clear and certain. A confused or contradictory or partial revelation would either bewilder us, drive us to despair, or paralyse our efforts. There must be a revelation —
(1) Of God.
(a) In His nature, that we may avoid impiety in our worship.
(b) In His character, that we may grow up into His likeness.
(c) In His will, that we may neither cumber ourselves with needless restrictions, nor indulge in unworthy compromises.
(2) Of man.
(a) In His capacity, that we may know that we are not overtasked.
(b) In His fall, that we may taste the bitterness of the wormwood.
(c) In His helplessness that we may be humbled from our pride, and driven to rely on the succours of another.
(3) Of Christ, whose atonement is life from the dead.
(4) Of immortality that we may feel the importance of our stewardship.
3. God has provided for this knowledge in —
(1) The Bible.
(2) The interpreting Spirit.
(3) A living ministry. Ignorance, therefore, is not misfortune but guilt.
II. OBEDIENCE, without which knowledge is an aggravation of transgression, and for the sake of which knowledge is given. This obedience —
1. Is the essence of religion — "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it."
2. Is a test of affection towards Christ. "If ye love Me keep My commandments."
3. Is not meritorious, but simply dutiful.
4. Must have respect to the fixed rule of Divine law and the whole of it. We must not lower the standard of right either for fashion, affection, or persecution.
5. Must be whole-hearted. We must not pick and choose.
6. Must regard the spirit as well as the letter of the command.
7. Must have as its motive power not fear but love.
8. Must be constant; not strict on Sunday and lax during the week; not dependent on feelings or associations, but on principle.
9. Must endure to the end.
III. HAPPINESS. The result in which this knowledge and obedience will issue. The satisfaction —
1. Of understood and discharged duty.
2. Of God's consequent and manifested favour.
3. Of the hope of reward in heaven.
(W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)
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.