Having Loved His Own
By Kathi Woodall –
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” (John 13:1 NIV).
Many, if not all, of us can look back at an event in our lives and realize it was the last time we did something significant. We might say things like, “That was the last Christmas I spent with my dad.” Or, “I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see my hometown.” Often those comments are accompanied by wishes of things we could still say to that person or do in that place. That’s not the case for our All-knowing Savior in this passage. Chapter thirteen of John begins a long discourse Jesus gave during His last Passover meal on earth, or during what Christians call the Last Supper. Jesus knew everything was about to change. Within hours He would be hanging on a cross and He had some important words to speak before it happened.
Jesus knew that His time had come. Throughout the book of John, Scripture tells us Jesus’ time had not yet come. However, now the time had come. What was it time for? Jesus had come to this hour to be lifted up on a cross, to die because of our sins, and by so doing, to be glorified (John 12:23-27). This process would also lead to Him leaving the world and returning to the Father, a key theme throughout the last minute instructions He gave His disciples at the Passover dinner.
The second half of John 13:1 says, “Having loved His own.” The phrase “His own” pertains “to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self” as opposed to another, and, in this usage, it means one’s household, family, or company. (See Acts 4:23, Acts 24:23, and 1 Timothy 5:8 where it is translated his people, friends and relatives, respectively.) This phrase also has the idea of privacy or being set apart.[i] In just those four little words, “Having loved His own,” we see that we are His, we are part of His family, we are set apart, and He loves us.
The problem of our story comes in the next phrase. We, His Beloved, are in the world. Jesus was leaving the world to go to the Father but we were staying here. Because of that great love, He couldn’t just leave that situation alone. He had to fix it. He had to make a way so we would not stay separated from Him forever but could have the hope of being reunited with Him again someday. He fixed this problem by dying on the cross, enabling us to join Him with the Father in Heaven and thereby experience “the full extent of His love.”
I’m not all-knowing like our Savior. In our tumultuous and changing world, I don’t know when my last meal will be with my loved ones. However, I can be at peace knowing that because Jesus loved all of us so much and because He made a way, we can all join Him someday with the Father. My prayer for each one of you this Easter season is that you also will experience the full extent of His love.
Kathi Woodall’s desire is to love and serve God. She primarily does this through writing and teaching the truth of His Word including her first published Bible study, “Seven Roles, One Woman: You Expect Me To Do All That?” Beyond that, she loves and supports her husband, Jimmy, takes care of their home, homeschools their four daughters, and serves in her church. To learn more about Kathi Woodall, please visit www.growbarefoot.com.