JESUS CHRIST LOVED YOU TO THE END!
But what about you? Do you love to the end? Husbands, do you love your wives to the end? Wives, do you love your husbands to the end? Parents, do you love your children to the end? Children, do you love your parents to the end? Neighbors, do you love one another to the end? You may all have answered yes to the question of do you love to the end, but have you really thought about that question? Do you really know what you are saying yes to? You see, when you say yes to the question, do you love to the end, that yes raises a question you must now also consider, to what end? Husbands, do you love your wives? Wives, do you love your husbands? Parents, do you love your children? Children, do you love your parents? Neighbors, do you love one another? Yes, but to what end do you love them. Scripture teaches us that love is setting aside your own position and pride for the one you love; setting aside what you want for the one you choose to love. To love someone is to actively choose to subject yourself entirely to what is best for the one you love; to give yourself entirely to the one you love with no expectation of anything in return. You see, love is not some free-standing emotion that you just feel, it is a conscious decision you make. You might feel affection and attraction; you might feel fondness and friendliness; you might feel liking and lust, but these feelings are not love, they are simply the feelings they are. These feelings may lead you to the choice of love, but that choice is entirely distinct from those feelings. You feel affection or attraction or fondness or friendliness or liking or lust. Any one or combination of these feeling may lead you to the choice to love, but when you make that choice to love, that choice implies intent and purpose. When you choose to love, you to choose to love to an end or a goal. So if you love someone, you love them to the end.
We read in the Gospel according to St. John, that 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.” But to what end did Jesus love His own? To the end of His public ministry at His betrayal? No, John says that Jesus “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father.” The end to which Jesus loved you was not marked by His betrayal, but by His departure from this world to the Father. His betrayal was not Jesus’ end. Did Jesus love you to the end of His life? No, John says that Jesus “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father.” If Jesus loved you to the end of His life – a life ended on the cross – the end of Jesus’ love would be a tomb. Is that the end to which Christ loved you? No, because the tomb is not the end. Jesus’ love for you does not end at the cross for Jesus life did not end at the cross. Yes He died; yes He was laid in the tomb; yes the stone was roll before the tomb, sealing Jesus away in death. But three days later, the stone was rolled away, the burial garments were abandoned, and Jesus stepped out of the tomb alive forever more. And this is the end to which Jesus loved you, the end is life.
John says that Jesus “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father.” And when Jesus appeared to Mary, He said, “Do not cling to me, for I have not returned to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Jesus does not love you to His betrayal; He does not love you to the cross or the tomb; He does not even love you to His resurrection. Jesus loves you through the betrayal; through the cross; and through the resurrection, to the Father. We are not to cling to a betrayed Christ, or a crucified Christ, or even a risen Christ, but to the Christ who was betrayed for us, who carried our sin and shame with Him to the cross and suffered and died so that sin might die with Him; who raised us up with Him from the dead and ascended to His Father reconciling you to your Father; who returned to God reuniting you to God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever trusts in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
This is the end to which Jesus loves you. The end of Christ’s love is the death of your sin. The end of Christ’s love is faith in Him given to you by the grace of the Father. The end of Christ’s love is the reconciliation of you to your heavenly Father. The end of Christ’s love is your salvation and everlasting life in Him with the Father.
TO THAT END, I PROCLAIM TO YOU THAT JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN! … Amen.