John 13:1, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
John begins telling of this great “Upper Room Discourse” by noting the love that Jesus Christ had and has for every member of the human race.
“Loving them to the end” is looking forward to the cross of Jesus Christ.
This love that Jesus held for every member of the human race was demonstrated by His actions of submitting to the plan and authority of God the Father by going to the cross.
It is one thing to speak about love, but it is a very different thing to show love in your actions. Jesus showed us His love by word and deed.
His motivation to go to the Cross was love. It was His Personal Love for God the Father and His Plan, and Impersonal Love for all of mankind that motivated Him.
Heb 5:8-9, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.”
There upon the Cross, Jesus, who had never sinned in His life and was born of the Virgin Mary; thereby, not possessing a sin nature, bore the sins of the entire world.
Because He was without sin, He could receive our sins and the penalty for our sins in our place.
1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” (Isa 53:9b)
Rom 4:25, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
The animals in the Old Testament sacrificial rituals were a picture of Christ. They had no sin of their own, and therefore could substitutionally receive the sins of the Old Testament saints and give their life in payment for the sins.
These rituals in themselves had no effect, but were obedient acts in faith that had effect and foretold and represented the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Psa 40:6-8; Heb 9:11-14; 10:1-7.
The animal sacrifices were a temporary stay of execution as God “passed over” their sins waiting for the time when Jesus Christ would fulfill the Father’s Plan.
Rom 3:24-26, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Unlike the animal sacrifices, Jesus Christ’s work upon the Cross was an everlasting, efficacious, propitiation.
1 Peter 2:24, “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
Heb 2:9, “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”
Heb 10:10, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
1 John 2:2, “Jesus Christ the righteous; He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
The love demonstrated by Jesus was based on who and what He was. He had perfect righteous from the Father. He had self-esteem and assurance because of what was inside of Him.
He was not deterred by or hypersensitive about what others thought of His actions. He loved us and did something fantastic for us, regardless of whether we would appreciate it or not.
Heb 12:2-3, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
It also pleased His Father to send Him because of His love for us.
Isa 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Isa 53:10, “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.”
So, we see that from the love of God the Father and the Love of Jesus Christ, our sins have been paid for once and for all time. The one who receives Christ sacrificial work for the forgiveness of their personal sins is the one who is also the recipient of God’s personal love and will live in perfect righteousness forever.
Let us not also forget the love of the Holy Spirit who was working inside of Jesus Christ to sustain Him upon the Cross as Jesus was enduring our sins. He too did this out of love.
Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Now knowing the Love that the Trinity has for us, we look forward to the day of our eternal union in heaven with them.
Heb 9:28, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
This is what the phrase in John 13:1 means when it says, “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”