He Loved Them to the End (Jn 13:1)

He Loved Them to the End (Jn 13:1)

pope shenouda iii

When He says His own who are in the world it is because He has His own in Heaven and not only in the world like angels and spirits of the virtuous.

He loved His own who are in the world applies to both testaments the old and the new.

Really, The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. (PS 24:1). Everyone are His creation and made by His hands yet He has a specific some whom He calls His own.

His special ones are those who lived for Him in the Old Testament like Abraham the father of fathers, Jacob whom was said about him in the bible: God loved Jacob, Prophet Moses and the Twelve Tribes.

Many of the prophets were God’s special ones.

He loved His own in the world, meaning that when God burnt Sodom He said: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing” (Gn 18:17) and starting speaking with Abraham his slave. This how is the relation between God and His own.

Also when Israeli people built the Golden Calf and God wanted to consume them, He first talked to Moses and told him: “let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them.” (Ex 32:10). Can your servant Moses, O Lord, interfere in Your will? But the Lord did not want to consume them unless Moses agrees with it, and Moses did not agree “So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Ex 32:14). How amazing is Your love to Your own, O Lord!!

The Lord loved His own who are in the world, He loved them to the end to the extent that He gave Himself for them, but there was a love also while they are in the world, like the bible said: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 Jn 3:18). He loved them to the end indeed and for real.

His own in the Old Testament were known like the big characters, and in the New Testament His own were the twelve disciples but they were not the only, there was also the seventy apostles and after that among His own there was also Lazarus whom He loved and cried at the place of his death.

And no doubt, among His own, there was also the Lady Virgin Mary, His mother.

And among His own there were some female characters who followed Him and spent from their money on Him (Lk 8).

Also became of His own the thief on the right on the cross and He told him: “today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).

Also firstborns in the Old Testament where of His own.

He said “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine” (Ex 13:2).

And after that He replaced firstborns with Leviticus and priests. Those are His own.

And God’s anointed ones were also among His own. 

Even the twelve whom He loved, there was three of them who were special for Him and they were John, James and Peter,and with those He had special meetings and in the Transfiguration miracle He had only those three with Him, those were among His own whom He loved to the end.

Later on, Saul of Tarsus became of His own and He appeared to him and called him to become an apostle for the nations. Then He appeared to him again and told him go far to the nations. A third time he told him to go to Jerusalem and he had many visions between him and God.

He loved His own who are in the world to the end. 

He loved His own who left everything and followed Him. They left the father, the mother, sisters and brothers and the house and followed Him.

In the Old Testament, Abraham went after Him without knowing to where he was going.

And in the New Testament, the apostles left the nets and the fishing and Mathew left the tax office, they left everything and followed Him.

They believed in Him and accompanied Him and told Him once: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68).

Those, His own, listened to His teachings and carried His message. There is a fictional story that says that when God ascended to Heaven, angels met Him and asked Him: God, did you spread the faith in the whole world? He said: No. So they said: Did you spread the faith in Jewish land, in all of Jerusalem? He said: No. So they said: What did You do? He said: I prepared 12 and they will spread the faith in the whole world. Because these are the ones who were filled with every grace, every blessing and every power from the Lord and He entrusted them with His church so that they build God’s Kingdom on the Earth.

These are His own who preached His name and suffered for Him and when they were set before councils they said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Ac 5:29).

These people had special spirituality level and they were strong in spirit.

In addition to them, He chose the seventy apostles.

And I wish each one of us asks himself: Am I among the Lord’s own? Do the conditions that applied on the disciples apply on me even in limits of my capability, am I of the world’s own or am I self- centered away from God?

He loved His own who are in the world, therefore in His prayer to the Father in (Jn 17) He repeated the sentence “whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me”

I wish the statement “His own” applies to us.

He loved them to the end and He Himself is love, for God is love.

If the Lord, Christ, loved His enemies and prayed for them at the time of the crucifix and said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk 23:34), so how much does He love His own this love!

He loved them, so He first chose them and told them “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16).

We also ask ourselves, God, are we among your chosen ones? Did You chose us like You chose them? And do You want to use us in work similar to how You used them?

He chose them in spite of their past, He made them fishers of men, called them His friends, called them His stewards and trained them in a service missionary first as was mentioned in (Mt 10). He sent them and gave them power over demons and gave them some advices saying: “Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts” (Mt 10:9), “And when you go into a household, greet it.” (Mt10, 12) and “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt 10:8).

And the seventy whom He sent also and trained them to serve for when then rejoiced and said “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Lk 10:17) He said to them: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:20).

He trained them to serve in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.

He taught them to give “You give them something to eat.” (Mt 14:16)

He taught them order saying “make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties” (Mk 6:39, 40).

And taught them how to love others and trained them also on loving children and said “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mt 18:6) and told them “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).

He taught them many things and broke boarders between them and Himself. And lived with them in simplicity, easting with them and drinking with them. And St. John the beloved said about Him: “which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled” (1 Jn 1:1).

He lived with them as a friend and gave them the chance to hear all His teachings; He gave them the chance to witness all His miracles while He wandered doing good deeds, healing every sickness and weakness in the people.
He made an example of Himself for them when He washed their feet and told them “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15).

He said to the Father about them: “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition” (Jn 17:12). And He said “and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (Jn 10:29).

And those who He loved, He gave them power over all demons, gave them gifts and granted them the Holy Spirit to live in them forever and to teach them all the right. He loved them to the end.

He gave them priesthood and granted them the right to hold the Eucharist Sacrament.

And gave them the gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of the greatest words that was said about Him loving them to the end that He said to the Father: “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them” (Jn 17:22) of course with limits. And He said “I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me” (Jn 17:24). And said “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:2, 3).

Not only on Earth but in Heaven too. He told them “you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28).

He was with them and loved them to the end; He comforted them in their tiredness and removed their doubts when doubts hit them.

He talked with them about all the symbols that came about Him in Moses and Prophets’ books as was mentioned in Luke 24.

He spent with them after Resurrection forty days talking about secrets of God’s Kingdoms and gave them many promised out of His deep love to them.

And He defended them. This is the great love with which He loved His own. And each one who become of the Lord’s own will enjoy this love according to the amount of grace that is given to him. Also the grace that was given to them was one of the types of love even St. Paul the Apostle said: “not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Co 15:10).