He loved them to the end

As part of my heart preparation for Easter, I was recently reading John 13. As I opened my bible and
glanced over my scribbled comments in these well loved chapters of my Bible, I asked God to show
me afresh the wonder of the Good News of Easter and to release my heart in thankfulness and
worship. Judging by the numerous biro notes down the side of the passage, my expectation was that
God had often spoken to me through this passage so it was likely that He would speak something
similar to me this morning. But I was blown away with something fresh, with something new. It was
two small sentences nestled in near the beginning of this chapter of John’s gospel:
‘Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his
own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.’
These words jumped out from the page at me. The fact that Jesus was so clear of His identity; He
knew who He was, He knew where He was going. He was going to be back with His Heavenly Father
and His time of being on this Earth was almost over. And yet this always- mission- of- momentarytime- in- this- world didn’t mean that Jesus’ commitment, presence or ‘all in’ was anything less than
100%. Jesus loved fully while He was in this world; by ultimately giving himself sacrificially for His
people and dying in our place so that we don’t have to, and in the day to day of giving himself in
care, compassion and relationship to those around Him.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have definitely felt the temptation of giving less at times when
I know that I’m not going to be somewhere long term. As if the temporal nature of where I am or
what I am doing dictates my heart. A farmer puts his hand to the plough and invests in his field
preparation, ploughing, raking, seeding, watering and protecting because he knows that he will reap
the benefits during harvest time. He is invested. He’s all in and doesn’t hold anything back.This is the
model of Jesus that often reflects a stark contrast to my natural tendencies. He commits everything
and loves to the end.
I love the sense of ownership that these words carry; Jesus said he loved ‘his own’ and he loved
them ‘to the end’. Those who Jesus died for were His, they belonged to Him. That includes the
motley bunch of disciples He called, some of whom abandoned Him and rejected Him, and yet who
He raised up to be mighty leaders to go and spread the Good News to all the ends of the Earth. It
includes those who mocked Him, spat on His face, whipped, and rejected Him as the Son of God and
Saviour of the World. Even those were ‘His’ and Jesus chose to stay on the cross out of love for
them. It wasn’t powerlessness, failure or a shortcoming in His identity that He remained on the
cross, it was because of His identity – love held Him there. Jesus was the only one who could rescue
his people and then gloriously love rose Him from the death conquering sin, shame and death for all
eternity. Hallelujah!
This encourages and challenges my heart!

  • It brings me a fresh awe and thankfulness at who Jesus is and what He has done for me and all
    those who surrender to His forgiveness and death in my place.
  • Joy, peace and hope rise up in my heart as I meditate on being ‘Jesus’’. Just like Woody in Toy Story
    who had the word “Andy” hand-drawn on the bottom of his cowboy boot, I have “Jesus’” written
    across my hands and my heart. I belong to Him.
    *Promise for the future of Jesus’ presence with me stirs faith and boldness for the days of tomorrow
    – and the ones after that. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but He does. Jesus’ promise to ‘love
    them to the end’ wasn’t sealed and completed on the cross, it continues in the empty tomb and on
    the road of today as Jesus’ parting words to His disciples were ‘I will be with you to the end of the
    age’ (Matthew 28:20) Jesus continues to be with us by His Spirit that lives inside of His followers.
    *It challenges me to be ‘all in’ for those around me – not dictating to God how much I’ll give
    depending on how much I like those around me, how much appreciation they show me, how easy
    the task is or how long I’ll be somewhere for. On my own, this feels like a hard task some days, but
    when I lift my eyes up to Jesus’ model, I know whose foot steps I follow in and a fresh wind of faith
    fills my hands.
    Jesus, thank you that we are your people. You have chosen us. Thank you that you loved us to the
    end. Thank you that you keep loving us because of Your goodness, because you have set your
    affection on us. Thank you for the cross and the empty tomb. Thank you that you go with us today –
    thank you for your Holy Spirit who lives insides of us and intercedes for us. Help us to love those
    around us. To follow in your footsteps. Amen
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