How Jesus Loves His Disciples

John 13:1 (ESV) … “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”


1. His Facts (13:1a)

We observe how, as always, the Lord had all his facts well in hand: “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father …” The hour was come. The day was the preparation day, the fourteenth day of Nisan (our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset), the day of the crucifixion. A lot of discussion has centered on whether Jesus ate the Passover at the proper time or before. John makes it clear it was before. All the gospels agree that the Lord was laid in the tomb on the preparation day (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31, 42).


What the Lord Jesus refers to as “his hour” had been present in his thoughts from the beginning. He had said to his mother, at the outset of his public ministry, “Mine hour is not yet come” (2:4). When the Jews tried to arrest him on previous occasions they could not, because his hour was not yet come (7:30; 8:20). The coming of the Greeks precipitated a prayer by Jesus: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (12:27).


The dreadful hour had now come. But instead of thinking of himself, Jesus thought of others, especially of his disciples. We can see them grouped about him, puzzled, full of forebodings, twelve men who, except for one, had come to love him with all their hearts.

He was going away, going home. His departure was to be in two stages: first Calvary, then Olivet. The trauma of the next few days might well shake his disciples’ faith. He must prepare them, forewarn them, that they might be forearmed.


2. His Feelings (13:1b)

We learn, too, of his feelings: “When Jesus knew … that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (13:1b). The word for “depart” is used only here in this connection; it speaks of a transfer from one sphere to another. Death was not going to interrupt his being; it would only change its mode. He was going to depart out of this world, but his loved ones were still to be in the world. That fact brought a flood of feeling to his heart. This world was about to be unmasked, about to show its true face at last.


He loved them with holy love, everlasting God-like love, agapao love. He loved them to the end (eis telos), to the furthest extent, to the uttermost, not in terms of time but in terms of readiness to save them and serve them.[1]




[1] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring the Gospel of John: An Expository Commentary (Jn 13:1a–b). Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp.

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