I can recall watching my mother, years ago, burst into tears as she prepared for brain surgery. Every step and every moment of that process was enormously difficult.

My mother was a gracious woman, but she was anxious when we arrived at the hospital together, and the check in did not go smoothly. She was already pre-registered but as we started to check her in she became frustrated. She lost her composure and snapped at the woman helping us with mom’s paperwork. A few minutes later she went back to apologize to the lady: “I’m sorry. I–” The lady said quickly, “I understand.” She knew my mother was in for brain surgery and that it was going to be difficult. She understood.

It’s so easy for us to become overwhelmed by our own losses and grief.

Jesus loved his disciples to the end.

John tells us that when Our Lord was under enormous pressure, knowing that a terrible experience of suffering and agony lay before Him, He loved His disciples to the very end. His commitment to service, to self-giving, and to doing the will of the Father was not lessened even under the most difficult circumstances:

Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

What does that mean, “He loved them to the end”? Commentators give a number of possibilities. I think it is an introduction to what is about to take place. John is telling us that what follows is a story of the love of Jesus, a love that He continued to express to his disciples up to the very end of his life.

It’s so easy for us to dwell on our own problems during times of stress — no doubt this was a tendency Jesus fought as well as He anticipated His own suffering:

Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (John 12:27)

We see this again in John 13:21:

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’

Jesus knew that Judas, one of his very own, would betray him. This knowledge must have brought Him great grief. He also knew that He would soon die a terrible death. Jesus repeatedly told His disciples as they journeyed to Jerusalem together that He would be delivered into the hands of cruel men, scourged, and crucified. He knew that these difficult events were not far in the future.

How do we model Jesus?

You and I have a tendency to let our difficult experiences control our minds and our thoughts so that we wipe out all concern for others. But John tells us that Jesus, knowing that His hour had come, knowing that the time of His departure was near, knowing that the suffering for which He had been sent into the world was just around the corner, still focused on loving His disciples to the end. His own impending agony did not remove from Him the capacity to love others.

You and I need to remember that no matter what the occurrences of life, we are always under the lordship of Jesus Christ. We need to remember that there is no trauma of life that removes us from our commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ. In life’s most difficult moments, we belong to the Lord.

It is easy for us, in those moments of trauma or emotional excitement, to forget to act lovingly toward those around us. It’s easy for us to think that unusual circumstances, centered on either grief or joy, cancel out the ordinary rules of Christian service and living. Jesus did not make this mistake, and neither should we.

Related blogs about love:

The preceding was adapted by Rachel Motte from a sermon Dr. Sloan delivered at Tallowood Baptist Church on March 25, 1990.

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