Several weeks ago, I preached a sermon on John 13:1-5 (part of a verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of John).Verse 1 reads, Now before the Feast of the Passover, 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. This comment by J.C. Ryle didn’t make it into the sermon.
The love of Christ to sinners is the very essence and marrow of the Gospel. That He should love us at all, and care for our souls – that He should love us before we love Him, or even know anything about Him, that He should love us so much as to come into the world to save us, take our nature on Him, bear our sins, and die for us on the cross – all this is wonderful indeed! It is a kind of love to which there is nothing like it, among men. The narrow selfishness of human nature cannot fully comprehend it. It is one of those things which even the angels of God “desire to look into.” It is a truth which Christian preachers and teachers should proclaim incessantly, and never be weary of proclaiming.
But the love of Christ to saints is no less wonderful, in its way, than His love to sinners, though far less considered. That He should bear with all their countless infirmities from grace to glory – that He should never be tired of their endless inconsistencies and petty provocations – that He should go on forgiving and forgetting incessantly, and never be provoked to cast them off and give them up – all this is marvelous indeed! No mother watching over the waywardness of her feeble babe, in the days of its infancy, has her patience so thoroughly tried, as the patience of Christ is tried by Christians. Yet His patience is infinite. His compassions are a well that is never exhausted. His love is “a love that passes knowledge.”