Love Unto the End

John 13:1‑33  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
IT is plain that Jesus is here addressing Himself to those who were then around Him, but what we see here of Jesus—attracts the soul to Him. That which attracts the sinner, which gives him confidence, is what the Holy Ghost reveals of Jesus.
I desire that we should be occupied with what we find in the first verse-that is the unchangeableness of the love of Christ-a love which nothing has slackened nor enfeebled. If we think of what the disciples were, of what the world was, and of the adversaries, we shall find that Jesus had a thousand reasons to lead him to give up loving. We see around Him three sorts of people-the disciples, those who were indifferent, and the adversaries. These last are more especially the children of the Devil, those who, seeing that the lord was about to take the kingdom and reign over all things, said, "We will not have this man to reign over us." There are some who have in the depths of their hearts the certainty that Jesus is the Christ, and who will not have Him. The adversaries can draw the indifferent along with them. All that was in this world tended to destroy the love of Jesus, had it not been perfect and unchangeable; for nothing wounds love more than indifference. By nature we love sin, and we desire to use all that God has given us in order to satisfy our lusts. Jesus saw all that; He saw the vile condition of the world, and He said, "How long shall I suffer you?" When we are in the light of God we judge of sin thus.
What parents would not wish their children to avoid the corruptions they know themselves? Because Jesus knew the sad condition of man, grace constrained Him to come and deliver him out of it God sees everything. In His compassion He takes cognizance of everything in order to meet our necessities. But what does He meet?" Indifference of heart. The heart of the natural man sees something contemptible in Jesus; he cannot acknowledge his condition, and he will not be indebted to God to draw him out of it. He prefers to remain indifferent to the God who loves Him; and let us remember that nothing disheartens love like indifference.
Jesus met with hatred also. All who did not love the light, because their deeds were evil, hated Jesus. Pride, carnal confidence, self-will, everything in man, repelled God! There was nothing in pollution, in indifference, and in hatred, which could attract the love of Jesus. This love might have been driven to despair, when Jesus saw, for example, that Judas was betraying Him.
If any one were to betray us, we should be too much self-occupied to think of those who were not betraying us-not so with Jesus. Although iniquity abounded, Jesus displayed all His love, but at last His disciples forsake Him also. Those who loved Him were so selfish, and so enslaved by the fear of man, that Jesus could not reckon on them. Man's heart is such that, even if one loves Jesus, still his heart is worth nothing. Jesus had to love in presence of a hatred which was never slackened. He loved us even when we were covered with pollution, indifferent, filled with hatred to the light, and having refused it thousand times. He who knows himself best knows best how true this is. If we treated a friend as we treat Jesus the friendship would not last long! What a contrast we shall find if we consider how different what Jesus found our earth was from what He enjoyed in Heaven. There He had the love of the Father, and in presence of that perfect love the purity of His own could not be manifested, because there were no obstacles. But here, below, remembering what He has left, He loves His own, even in their pollution; nothing disheartens Him, but this pollution draws upon them His compassion. The object of grace is iniquity and evil. The indifference of His own showed to Jesus all the extent of their misery, and the need they had of Him. Man's hatred only proved that he was lost. God came down to seek man, because man was incapable of seeking God. How much God has borne with! What indifference, what treachery, what denials! People would be ashamed to act toward Satan as they act toward the Lord! Nevertheless nothing stops Jesus. He loves His own "even unto the end." He acted according to what was in His heart, and all the evil of man only afforded Him an opportunity to manifest His love. The Lord has done everything necessary to place the soul in relation with God. Sinners as we are the grace of God has come to seek us. Righteousness and the law demand that sin and the sinner be taken out of the way. John the Baptist demanded repentance-that was a beginning of grace, but pure grace far from saying to man, "Leave thy condition to come to me," comes itself to man in his sin, in order that God may be manifested as He never could have been had there been no sin. Grace applies what is in God to the necessities produced by the ruin in which we are. Jesus loves "unto the end."
What a comfort to know that Jesus is everything we need for all that we are! This places us in the light, and leads us to confess the evil that is in us, and not to hide it. Grace alone produces sincerity. A man who has a part to play likes to appear strong, even when he is weak. Grace produces truth, and makes us confess our weakness and infirmity.
In Peter's place we should have acted as he did, if we had not been kept. Jesus loves His own "in the world," in their pilgrimage, in their circumstances, in spite of their misery, their selfishness, and their weakness. All Satan's efforts, and all that was in man, were well calculated to hinder the love of Jesus, nevertheless, " He loved them unto the end."
Can you say, "I have a share in this love, notwithstanding my weakness. I have understood the grace and the manifestation in Jesus of the love of the invisible God." Have you confessed that it was necessary that Jesus should come into the world in order that your soul should not go where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth'? Have we made up our minds to acknowledge ourselves to be what we are? This is unpleasant to the flesh; it is like Paul's "thorn;" there was something which is telling him constantly, "Thou art weak;" and this is exactly why God allows it to remain. Is the flesh so mortified in us that we are satisfied that Jesus should be everything, and we nothing; and that we rejoice to see our weakness since it must manifest the power of God in us.
Jesus has forgotten none of our necessities. The heart which is freed from selfishness thinks only of the things which love desires to do. Thus, Jesus on the cross does not forget His mother, but commends her to the disciple whom He loved.