Jesus Loved Them “Unto the End”

God’s Love in the Gospels

4 min

To see the attribute of God’s love manifested in a tangible way, we need to look no further than to the great gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9–10).

The love of God manifested through the Lord Jesus Christ was on full display the night that the Master was betrayed into the hand of sinners. Hated and despised by the religious leaders, mocked and bruised by the Sanhedrin, spat upon and beaten by the Roman soldiers, and abandoned and denied even by His closest disciples, Jesus still loved His tormentors.

The scene in the Upper Room, narrated for us by the eyewitness account of the Apostle John, opens with a statement of the eternal love of the Lord Jesus Christ for us. “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” (John 13:1).

Have you ever considered that final phrase in John 13:1? “He loved them unto the end.” The Greek word here for end is much broader and fuller in its meaning than the English word. The Greek word is τέλος (telos). This word encompasses the fullness of time, space, and extent. The same root word is used in Hebrews 7:25, where it is translated “uttermost”: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” When Jesus loves, He loves to the “uttermost.” When Jesus saves, He saves to the “uttermost.”

When “unto the end” is applied to the dimension of time, Jesus loves us with an eternal love that will never end. Like a powerful river, His love loses no volume or power as it rolls along. His love is just as mighty to save today as it was on the night that He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He loves you just as much as He loved Peter who denied Him, because He loves His own “unto the end.”

When the same phrase is applied to the dimension of space, Jesus loves us even to the uttermost parts of the earth. He not only loves those in Jerusalem, but as far as His dominion, which is over all. His love extends “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8). The Gospel of a crucified Savior was carried by love to places where the Roman armies could never conquer by force. The love of Jesus is the mightiest force on earth, and the day is dawning when the praises of the Lamb of God will be sung by every kindred and every tribe on earth. Why? Because Jesus loves His own “unto the end.”

When “unto the end” is applied to its extent, Jesus loves us even when we are at our worst. He loved Peter when the disciple betrayed the Son of God. Jesus loved the soldiers, even when they drove the spikes into His hands. Upon the cross, in that moment of agony, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He loved the dying sinner crucified beside Him, saying to him, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). If Jesus loved these, surely He loves you—in spite of your sin and your rebellion. His love is mightier than your hatred, and His love will triumph over your sin because Jesus loves His own “unto the end.”

This same Greek word was of great significance when the final triumphant moment of victory had come on the cross of Golgotha, the awful penalty demanded by sin had been paid in full, the wrath of God had been satisfied, and full atonement had been purchased forever. Jesus used this same word in His statement of victory: “It is finished!” The root word is again τέλος (telos), meaning “It is the end! It is paid to the ‘uttermost’!” The love of Jesus had triumphed over the hatred of man. The death of Jesus had banished the power of death forever. The love of God had been manifested toward us because Jesus loved us “unto the end.”

When have you wept over your sins and the magnitude of God’s love for you? When have you thanked God for His love for you that He manifested in the giving of His Son to pay for your sin? The sobering reality is that this love of Jesus is set forth as the example for the love we ought to have for our brethren. Jesus told His disciples on the night He was betrayed, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). The Apostle John made the same application when he pressed upon us the example of the love of God in Jesus Christ: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I John 4:11).

Do you love your brother “unto the end”? Is your love to the “uttermost”? Has your love waned with the passage of time? Have you ever hesitated to love the stranger or the outcast? When a brother sins against you, do you forgive and love as Jesus loved? Perhaps today, right now, is the time to repent of a self-centered, prideful spirit and to learn again from the Master how to love as you ought to love.

This article is from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series.

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