Tuesday, July 29, 2014


John begins his description of the final Passover Supper with the words "having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (John 13:1). The word order of the Greek text is actually "to the end He loved them" placing the emphasis on the adverbial phrase "to the end."  What does John mean by that editorial comment? Is he simply saying that Jesus loved them until the end of His life? This seems rather obvious from the passage and hardly worth emphasizing, as John takes pains to do by placing the phrase ahead of the verb.  There is another way to look at the phrase and it powerfully moves our minds into the mystery of His love. The preposition, εις (to), indicates purpose (Moulton, Howard, Turner, Grammar, Vol. 3, p. 266). Jesus loved them with the purpose of loving them to the end - the end of His love! The noun, τελος (end), can also mean complete or full so the phrase can be summarized as completely or fully. He loved them in full. He loved them with the intention of loving them to the fullness of His love so "he gave them the perfect love token" (Blass/Debrunner, Grammar, p. 112). John's editorial comment introduces the foot washing that immediately follows this passage. The foot washing was Jesus' love token, showing that He purposely loved them in full - to the fullness of His love. What does it mean when an infinite God, with an infinite capacity to love, intentionally loves us to the fullness of His love?  No matter how great the marriage, a husband and wife do not love in full. There is always some element of selfishness in our love. Human love always falls some centimeters short of full love - but not Jesus. He loves us to the fullness of His infinite love. There is not a smidgen of love left unloved - for them - for me - for you!  Mind boggling!

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