Text: John 13: 31-35
Text verse: John 13:34
Jesus had just told His disciples that He would soon leave them and that they would not be able to go with Him. So, in this passage He teaches them what He expects of them when He is gone.
He begins by showing how He glorifies the Father because He faithfully carries out His Father’s will by being faithful to His calling. In the same way we must also glorify the Father and Son by being faithful to our calling. At the heart of our calling is this new commandment: Love.
Strictly speaking, this is not new, because in Deuteronomy 6:5 God already commands the people to love Him with all their heart, all their soul and all their strength. Furthermore, He also teaches the people in Leviticus 19:18 “to love one another as you love yourself”.
The reason Jesus says this is a new commandment is because He came to show them a new standard of love. They must love as Jesus loves them. His love is not limited to those who do good to Him. It is a love that gives without expecting anything in return.
Furthermore, it is love that renews you through the power of the Spirit. Only when you understand the glorious love of Christ in your life and only when that love changes your heart, will you be able to love in the same way.
When we love so much, everyone will be able to see that we are his disciples (vs. 35). The result is then that He will be glorified. He is honoured because we are faithful to Him.
The reason the commandment of love is so difficult for us to keep, is our own pride. Think of it this way. Why do we find it so difficult to love people who have hurt or insulted us? It’s because they tarnished our dignity. They marred our compassion and as a result it is difficult for us to simply put it behind us. We want them to make up for it in some way.
Now here Jesus teaches us that this new love expects us to continue to love in spite of the misery we have suffered.
How are we able to love so much?
The power to love so much lies in verses 31 and 32. This is where Jesus gets his power to love so much. His fulfilment comes from his oneness with God. It is the source of his glorification.
In other words, when people offend His glory, it does not matter to Him as a person, because He seeks His glory in God and not in people. People could spit and beat Him, humiliate and crucify Him, yet this glory that He has in His relationship with the Father, cannot be changed by anyone or anything. It stands firm.
The wonderful thing about Christ’s salvation is that He makes us part of that glorious community again. When we understand our salvation, we will no longer seek glory from people. We are part of a much greater glory and therefore we can love in spite of the shame that people inflict on us. That shame does nothing to our relationship with God, because Jesus paid with his blood so that we can have an eternal share in that glorious community. A community characterised by love.
We get our strength to love from this community. We no longer seek respect from people because we have received the glorification of being children of God.
Therefore, for us, it will no longer be about our own glory, but about God’s glory. That is why we love and that is why everyone will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.