John 13:31-38: The power of love.
“31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself,and will glorify him at once.33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” NIV
When Judas ”went out” (30), Jesus knew it was time for Him to die (31, 32). He knew that this treacherous ‘follower’ would trigger the events leading to His arrest and sufferings.
When Judas ”went out…it was night” (30). But it was the time for Jesus to shine with supreme glory. This is what we see in the Cross – the glory of God.
In the light of His soon departure, Jesus spoke so tenderly, kindly and gently to His beloved disciples (33). ”My children…” Let’s be careful how we handle precious people. Who can say what pain lies behind each carefully constructed facade? Probably everyone carries some wounds. In fact, cross out the ‘probably’. Hurt and tears are universal realities. May God help us to be gentle.
How did Jesus want His disciples to conduct themselves after His leaving (34, 35)? He wanted them to be a loving community. Don’t miss the importance of these words.
See the evangelistic power of love. People are hungry for true love, and the more perfectly it is expressed (even in an imperfect world) the more people will be drawn to it. It is known that in the pagan world in which Christianity took root, there were those who were saying, ‘See how these Christians love one another.’ What a testimony.
But we are far from perfect. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves (36-38). We mean well, but we often find that our fine-sounding words and good intentions go up in flames when we’re in the furnace. The Lord is never taken by surprise. He knows what is in us; what we are really made of. We are not yet ‘finished articles’, so humility is called for.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I ask that our church community will be a powerful and vivid advert for life in the Kingdom of God.