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…
For the inspired Evangelist not only specifies the precise date — "Before the feast of the Passover" — but he also mentions a particular fact of a moral nature, of the utmost importance, as giving us an insight into the Saviour's mind: "When Jesus knew" — or Jesus knowing — "that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father," etc. The idea plainly is, that just because He knew — not merely although, but just because He knew — that His hour was come, that He should leave this world, and that, consequently, His disciples would be left alone in it — as He had always previously loved them, so He now manifested His love in a very peculiar manner, corresponding to their necessities; and this, too, under the most affecting circumstances, and to the utmost extent.
I. The OBJECTS of this love are described, in the first instance, more generally as being "His own." It is true, indeed, that, in one sense, all things are His own, as being their Creator and Preserver — all things, from the highest archangel to the meanest insect that crawls upon the ground. But His people are His own in a sense peculiar to themselves. But the objects of this love are described not only as His own, but more particularly as His own that were in the world. Jesus had many of "His own" that were now in glory; and doubtless these were objects of peculiar complacency and delight. Oh! see them in their white robes, as they shine so bright! But still the precious truth for us is, that it was His own that were in the world that He is here said to have loved. And why were they singled out from the rest? Why, but because of the peculiar difficulties and dangers to which they were exposed. Ask that tender-hearted mother, which of her many children recurs oftenest to her memory — those of them who are safe at home under the parental roof, or the one that is far away at sea? Jesus was now to depart out of the world, but they were to be left in it; and therefore His heart turned in love towards them. But without dwelling further on this idea here, is it not a most delightful and encouraging truth, that, though Jesus is now in glory, yet He still regards His own that are in the world with peculiar care suited to their circumstances and necessities? But methinks I hear someone say, "Alas! I feel that I am in the world, not only because of the sins of others, but because I sin myself; because I have 'a body of death' within me, and often it breaks out in word and action." Yes, indeed, but Jesus loves His own that are in the world still; He sees and knows all the sin and imperfection, that you have to contend against, and yet He loves His own notwithstanding. "But, oh!" says someone, "my case is of a different kind still: I have come hither today, burdened with a heavy heart." It may be that it is some dear relative that is sick, and apparently near to death. All this proves that you are still in a world of sorrow. But then Jesus loves His own still, and looks down upon them with ever watchful eye.
II. But I come now, in the second place, to mention SOME OF THOSE WAYS IN WHICH JESUS HAD ALWAYS PREVIOUSLY MANIFESTED HIS LOVE TO THEM.
1. See, for example, how having once chosen them in His love, He ever afterwards proved His love by continual companionship with them.
2. See, too, how tenderly, how graciously He instructed them. His instructions were always very simple, because He loved them so well. His love was stronger than their unbelief and ignorance.
3. See, moreover, how ready He was to sympathize with them, and to render them every kind of assistance. Whenever they were in trouble, He was their willing and able Friend.
4. And, oh, with what patience did He bear with them in all their weakness and infirmities!
III. But what I wish you specially to notice now is THE STEADFASTNESS OF THIS LOVE — ITS UNFAILING AND UNFLINCHING FAITHFULNESS, AS IN LIFE SO ALSO IN DEATH. "He loved them unto the end" — not only to the end of life, but to the utmost extent, and under the most affecting circumstances. And if He thus loved them, in the view of the agonies of Gethsemane and the death of Calvary, think you does He now forget them — now that He has passed within the veil? Ah! no, it is impossible. But I must also add, if Jesus Christ loved His own unto the end, then surely they ought to persevere in their love to Him. But I have this also to say in closing, what misery must it be to be without such a Saviour!
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.