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. THE LOVE OF CHRIST IS A PERSONAL LOVE.
1. This personal love is not to be contrasted with, although it is to be distinguished from, His love of the whole world. Without supposing the universal love that pities misery everywhere, we cannot make our way to a personal love. You cannot be sure of a love that passes by great multitudes.
2. This personal love is just the application of the general love to the person. It is not merely that the individual believes in that general love and appropriates just so much to himself as he needs, but that in that very appropriation he practically increases the love of Christ to himself. His love to Christ makes Christ's love to him a love of complacency and friendship.
3. The belief of this is the turning point of life. When a man can say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me," he has passed or is passing from darkness into light. His destiny is solved. Not to believe that assurance so solemnly and affectingly given, is to be without the comfort of the blessed gospel, to abide under wrath.
4. It is either wrath or love. There is no explaining it away or shading it off. Come to Christ, believe the gospel, you are in love. Stay away from Him, distrust His gospel, leave it lying there unopened, untouched, as you would some printed circular you don't care to be troubled with, and the whole world is full of wrath. It darkens and embitters your whole life. Just say this and believe it, for it is true, "He loved me," etc.; and then you are out of wrath into love, you leave the ranks of His enemies, you enter among "His own."
II. CHRIST LOVES HIS OWN UNTO THE END, i.e., to the end of His own life. In proof of which, here at the very end is a most thoughtful, touching instance of His intense desire to do them a good that would last long after He was away.
1. He was going into great suffering. No agitation, no depression, no entering into the sorrow before the time; but this calm, beautiful action of feet washing which they might recall forever as an overwhelming proof of the endurance of His love to His own.
2. He was going into great glory. Work all done. Suffering nearly finished. Home now to God! What then? A great elation of spirit and a corresponding forgetfulness of these common persons and these inferior things? No; but the washing of the disciples' feet! A yearning, enfolding love of "His own" unto the end. No trial of love could be more searching, more complete, than is furnished by those two great things, both so near — the suffering and the glory.Application —
1. You who are "His own," it concerns you much to believe that He will "love you unto the end." Why should He not?
(1) Even His own great suffering could not cast a shade between the loving Master and the trembling disciple when He was here. And now there is no suffering to come between you and Him.
(2) And as to the glory of His heavenly life, even now when throned and crowned and worshipped by ten thousand times ten thousand, the joy that is dearer to Him than all this is that which He wins yet down here when He seeks and finds the sheep that was lost. We think poorly of Him if we suffer ourselves to think of Him as enjoying heaven yonder while we suffer and die.
(3) And as for your unworthiness, you were unworthy when He began to deal with you, and you have been unworthy every day since, and you are now, and He knows all this. Having loved His own with an unbought, uncaused love from the beginning, and thus far along their individual histories, He will love them so, and no otherwise, unto the end.
(A. Raleigh, D. 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.