We will begin this message with a verse in John chapter 13. The Gospel of John is a tremendous gospel. It is a very mystical book. We usually think of the Book of Revelation as “the mystical book” of the Bible. John wrote it, too, but there are many hidden truths in his Gospel that will just explode for you if you have eyes to see them.
John chapter 13 begins a very special time of the Lord's ministry on earth. He has reached the end of His ministry, so the things He is teaching His disciples are very important. The most important work of Jesus Christ was not the miracles and healings that attracted so much attention but that which He was doing with and in His disciples. Let’s begin with the first verse.
John 13:1 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.
He knew that His hour was come and that He would depart out of this world. We want to understand what that really means. You say, "Well, He left this world." In a sense, yes, and in a sense, no. What do I mean by that? Well, before Jesus ascended He told His disciples, "Lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 29:20). Here, though, it says that He is going to depart out of this world. As a bodily form He departs out of this world, but as far as His presence and Spirit is concerned He is still with His disciples. Do you understand that? Judas, not Iscariot, didn’t. He asked Jesus, Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? John 14:22. There is a way in which the Lord is manifesting Himself and making Himself known to His own when at the same time the world around about us doesn’t know anything about it. Even much of the Christian world is unaware of His presence.
So knowing that His hour had come that He should depart out of this world, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end. That is not talking about the end of time, or the end of the world. The Greek word translated “end” here is telos. It means the goal or point aimed at as a limit. My son, for example, had a telos to receive his diploma after four years of high school. He reached the end of that segment of his education and then set out to reach a new telos, his college degree. Likewise, the Lord had a goal in mind for His disciples. So having loved them He loved them until the end. He knew what His disciples were to become and He was going to love them until they became that.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Can we do that? Can we love our brothers and sisters in Christ in the same way He loves us? Humanly speaking that is impossible. Jesus loved with divine love, and divine love is not inherent within our nature. So how can we fulfill this commandment? We find the answer in I John 4:19. We love Him, because He first loved us. His love is always being beamed toward us. So we must learn how to appropriate His love and love others with it. Another way of saying the same thing is that we must learn how to let Him love through us.
The Lord loved His disciples with a purpose. He knew what they were to become and His love was the channel for bringing forth the fulfillment. Then He tells us to love in the same way. His love flowing through us will do the same thing, but it doesn’t just automatically happen. There is a responsibility on our part. We must have a revelation of what our brother or sister in the Lord is to become – what is God’s will for them? When we know what they are to become, our love will have a determined focus.
One of the scribes asked Jesus, “What is the most important commandment of all?” Jesus responded, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31.
Learning to totally love the Lord with all that you are is the most important thing you can do. It is the foremost thing of your life. Everything else must flow out of your relationship with Him. You cannot love others in the way you should until you first love Him. Whatever ministry you have will be ineffective without that love relationship with the Lord. His love in you is the channel through which He can minister to mankind. Let’s look at the first verse again. 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.
Copyright © 2004 by Henry DuBose