There is a profound statement in John 13:1. As the gospel narrative prepares to transition from the days of Jesus’ general ministry to the final hours of His life, the apostle records of Jesus that “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
The expression translated “He loved them to the end” is eis telos agapāsen. It could fittingly be translated “He loved them to the uttermost.”
Jesus’ love for us is not like our love for one another. All too often, our love comes with strings attached. Or it is mercurial and transient, being stirred up into great flames of passionate affection one moment and then doused into smoldering embers the next. At one time or another, we have all been guilty of acting like fair-weather friends. Even the purest and most unconditional love we have to offer is sometimes tainted by the self-serving and transactional impulses of our fallen nature. We cannot help it. In our love for one another, as in all other areas, we fall woefully short of perfection.
Not so with Jesus. Those whom He loves, He loves with a love that is entirely pure and eternally sacrificial and unceasingly constant. He does not withhold His love when His feelings have been hurt. He does not use His love as leverage to attain some self-serving ulterior motive. He forgives us freely, and He loves us unconditionally—to the uttermost!
There is no greater friend than Jesus.
David Gunn is director of Regular Baptist Press.