An Incomparable Love
Mr. John W. Bramhall of Charlotte, N.C., shares with us some brief but blessed thoughts on Christ’s incomparable love for His own.
“Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).
The Gospel of John is divided into two great sections: the manifestation of Christ’s glory to Israel from 1:19-12:50, to those who rejected Him (John 1:11); and the manifestation of His glory from 13:1-21:25, to those who received Him (John 1:12). How precious is the unfolding of the Lord’s glory to those who have received Him, alone discernible to the eye and to the heart of faith. The entire portion reveals the Saviour’s sacrifcial love, His deepest humiliation, persecution, sorrow, pain and His ultimate death on behalf of “His own.” It is blessed to belong to this great company called “His own.” This last section of John’s Gospel begins with the amazing revelation of HIS INCOMPARABLE LOVE!
Note the Time of It
It was “before the Feast of the Passover,” the time when His own thoughts would be occupied with the sacred memories of this solemn feast (Ex. 12:14). It was also before His departure from this world when He could have been absorbed not only with His approaching death but with the joy of returning back to His Father in heaven above. It was before His great exaltation at the right hand of God’s throne and before His ultimate glory as Lord over all when He would be revealed in eternal splendor (Heb. 12:2). Yet none of these facts were able to separate His affections from “His own” whom He was about to leave on the earth.
Note the Reason for It
He Himself would soon be forever away from the world’s hatred, its oppression and relentless antagonism that it had manifested against Him (John 15:18). But His disciples were to remain in the world and be exposed to its enmity, to be burdened with its oppression and trouble from which He was escaping. “The world hates you,” said the Saviour to His disciples (John 15:19). The thought of their feeble and defenseless position, their sufferings and weaknesses and imperfections, only added fuel to His love for them. He felt and still feels for His own who are exposed to the world’s pitiless hatred and opposition, for He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” according to Hebrews 4:15.
Note the Intensity of It
“He loved them to the end,” that is, to the uttermost, with the highest possible degree, with a love that surpasses all knowledge (Eph. 3:19). His is a love that many waters are unable to quench (S. of Sol. 8:7). Did He love them to the last moment of His life? Yes, even more than that! It was a love without a beginning and a love without an end (Jer. 31:3). It now surpassed every previous demonstration; a love that now stooped down even unto the death of the cross for those who were “His own” (John 15:13; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16; etc.).
“To the end” does not fully express the complete thought. J. N. Darby has well written as follows: “To the end does not give the full force, for it makes it refer to time, whereas going through with everything is implied.” To paraphrase the precious truth, we can say: “He loved them through everything.” What can we say of all this? Alas! our hearts may grow cold toward Him, our hands may weary in well doing, our feet may wander; but of this fact we are assured — He will never fail us! His love will carry us and care for us “unto the end”; and at the end His love will receive us into His eternal home where there are no cold hearts, nor hands that hang down, nor feet that go astray. His love is an incomparable love! And in the words of J. N. Darby’s precious hymn, we can surely sing:
Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.