Loving to the End
“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
John 13:1 (NIVUK)
As John wrote his Gospel account of the life and work of Jesus Christ, he looked back and observed how Jesus had loved his disciples completely right to the end of his physical life on the cross.
The statement is all the more remarkable when you consider what had happened and was about to happen. The context was the day before the Jewish Passover when Christ would be sacrificed for the whole world. John himself and his brother, James, had been arguing about power and politics in the future kingdom of God. Simon the Zealot had been following Jesus in the expectation that Christ would free the Jews from Roman oppression. Judas had mixed motivations and stole from the disciples’ travel funds, and would betray Jesus with a kiss. Others appeared to follow Jesus because of the miracles he performed. Peter would deny him despite Peter’s own protestations to the contrary. All of them, with the exception of John, would desert Jesus during his final hours. Yet Jesus continued to love every one of them to the end.
There are lessons here for us on several levels. With the divine gift of human love and with Christ’s own indwelling love within us through the Holy Spirit, we can continue to love our family and friends, despite their problems and shortcomings, until the end, not only of their lives, but also of our own conscious lives.
Also, even if we doubt, or backslide, or make some mistake, or get confused about things, as the disciples did, nothing interrupts God’s loving, gracious presence in our lives. As Paul wrote, nothing that the randomness of life brings to us, nothing that happens to us, neither sickness nor debilitating disease, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39).
Whatever our situation in life, nothing stops Jesus from loving us to the end.
Thank you, loving and gracious Father, that Jesus’ love for me is constant, and help me please, through the Holy Spirit, to love others to the end, as Jesus did. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This Saturday he is the main speaker at our Camberwell and London congregations, and also on Sunday at a special meeting of our Watford congregation at 2pm in St. John’s Church, Gills Hill Lane, Radlett, Herts WD7 8DF. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland.
For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.