Let’s begin by highlighting the main idea of v.1, which appears at the end of the verse—He loved them to the end or to the uttermost or perfectly. Who is them? They are identified in the previous clause as his own who were in the world. In this context, his own are his disciples, but the principles extend to all who will believe in him. We’ll return to that part of the verse in a little bit, but first, let’s examine this love to the end. At the outset, it’s important to note that it must be referring to something specific since the verb tense indicates that it occurred at a point in time and John declares that this act of love was unto the end.
This final phrase can refer to either a fullness of a duration of time or a fullness of completion. Both ideas are probably in view here, for Christ’s love for his own took him to the very end of his life on the cross and it completed the salvation of his own forever. In fact, there is a grammatical connection with the noun for end in 13:1, that occurs twice in just a few verses in ch.19 while Jesus hangs on the cross. First in 19:28, John writes that Jesus knew that all things had already been accomplished…Then in 19:30, Jesus spoke his final words from the cross…It is finished. This is directly connected to what John writes in 13:1 that Jesus loved his own to the end.
Even in the very first verse of this weighty section of Scripture, the love of God in Christ is not put forth merely as a general, kind disposition towards people that has all the best intentions, but can’t fully accomplish those intentions. Rather, the love of God in Christ is an unstoppable force because it’s secured by the finished work of Christ that is sealed with his blood.
Is there anything more significant than that to you? Is there anything else that will last and be put on display as a propellent of worship for all eternity? Can you trust this love, even when you can’t make sense of circumstances? Beyond completing his love for you on the cross, by finishing it and securing it, what else would he need to do to demonstrate his love? What would be more meaningful to you than the spilling of his infinitely valuable blood to save your soul eternally?