1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
With chapter 13 we turn from the public ministry of Christ (chapters 1-12) to His private ministry to His disciples (chapters 13-17).
From this point in the gospel of John, we have more of Jesus’ instructions to His disciples than in the synoptic gospels (chapters 13-17). These chapters are His farewell address to His disciples. They are sometimes called the upper room discourse. We find the “new commandment” for His disciples in this section (Jn 13:34). Love sets the tone for all that follows in this gospel.
Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in 13:1-17. He here prepared His disciples for His betrayal. He would be betrayed and arrested on this fateful night.
1 Now the Feast of the Passover,
The Passover meal took place between Thursday at sundown and Friday evening (Jewish time). The timing of the upper room events was Thursday, the day before the Passover Feast (Friday). This was the feast where they slaughtered animals on the day of atonement. Jesus and His disciples wanted to celebrate the Passover time together.
when Jesus knew that His hour had come
The death and resurrection of Jesus was now imminent. This was the defining purpose of His coming into the world. It was no surprise to Jesus that the time of His death had come. Jesus knew that He was about to die on a bloody cross. This was one day before His crucifixion.
that He should depart from this world to the Father,
Jesus spoke here of His resurrection and ascension to heaven. He would leave “this world” to return to the Father.
having loved His own [His disciples] who were in the world,
Jesus especially loved those who believed in Him. He readied them for His mission in the world.
He loved them to the end.
The extent of Jesus’ love for His own was to love them until His death. He loved them by preparing them for His death and resurrection. Jesus loved His disciples both (1) to the fullest extent and (2) to the end of His life. Jesus loved His disciples “to the end”; that is, He loved them to the full extent, to the utmost. He had boundless love for them. He would prove this by continuing to love them until He died on the cross.
Jesus’ loved His disciples unflaggingly and without limits.
Jesus had come to earth to die for the sins of the world. Now that time had come. Having paid for our sins on the cross, He would return to the Father.
Jesus loved us not because we are lovable. It is true that some may be more lovable than others, but from God’s point of view there is nothing lovable about a sinful person. There is nothing desirable in us from that viewpoint.
God did not love us because we first loved Him (1 Jn 4:10). Neither does He love us because of what we do for Him. We have nothing to offer Him. He needs nothing. He does not need our praise. God loves us out of His own character and not because of something in our character.
On the eve of His death, Jesus was not absorbed in the awful prospect before Him. Instead, He loved His own through it all. He never forsook them even in His deep distress and duress. He did not think of Himself but others in His own time of need. He loved His disciples until the last breath.