Summary: A New Commandment. (Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• A desire to glorify God (vs 31)
• A love for one another (vs 34)
• A submission to Jesus (vs 36-38)
• The New Testament word used for “disciple” is the Greek word ‘mathetes’;
• And it means ‘learner’.
• In other words, a follower of Jesus (i.e. A Christian);
• Is someone who is always wearing their ‘L’ plates;
• Quote the late great Alan Redpath:
• "The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment,
• But the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime."
• Discipleship is ‘the task of a lifetime’ – and is what every Christian is called to;
• Disciples are people who LEARN to be like Jesus in character;
• And learn to behave like Jesus in their conduct.
• A little boy constantly fell out of bed.
• No matter what his parents did, the boy couldn’t sleep without rolling out of bed.
• An uncle came to visit and in the middle of the night the usual thump and cry was heard.
• In the morning the uncle teased the boy and asked him why he fell out so often.
• The little fellow thought for a moment and then said,
• “I don’t know, unless it’s because I stay too close to the place where I get in.”
Well, discipleship is moving on from the place we got in:
• It is growing up in our faith and not just growing older;
• It is learning to be like Jesus in our character;
• And learning to behave like Jesus in our conduct.
• “It's been said, 'A student learns what his teacher knows,
• But a disciple becomes what his master is.”
• One great writer on discipleship put it this way:
• “Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you”.
• In John chapter 13 Jesus provides us with the marks of true discipleship,
• He gives to us a measuring stick;
• A practical example to follow to gage how well we are doing spiritually.
Now remember the backdrop to these verses:
• It is the last evening Jesus will have with his disciples before his crucifixion.
• Before he will be brutally and violently killed.
• They are all gathered together in the upper room.
• And before they start to eat,
• Jesus does the unthinkable, he behaves like a servant to them;
• And he begins to wash their feet,
• He gives them a visual, a practical illustration that teaches them humility.
• That was shocking behaviour,
• And Jesus goes on to shock them again – this time verbally.
• As they were eating Jesus drops a bombshell by telling them:
• That one of them – one of the twelve – his very own disciples - will betray him.
• That statement results in questions & turmoil,
• During which Judas the betrayer quietly leaves and slips away.
• And in verse 31 of John chapter 13:
• We read; “When Judas was gone”.
• The previous verse symbolically tells us; “That it was night”.
• I am told by those in the know;
• That when sheep are taken off to be killed,
• They know instinctively that the slaughterhouse is a bad place.
• They can smell or sense something which warns them of danger.
• When the lorry carrying the sheep stops and the gangplank is put down;
• The sheep refuse to move.
• Over the years the slaughterhouse operators;
• Have devised a way of getting round the problem.
• They keep a sheep on the premises;
• One who acclimatises to the place and doesn’t mind it anymore.
• They then take this sheep up the plank onto the lorry;
• And then they walk it down again quite happily.
• The other sheep see one of their own leading the way;
• And they being sheep will follow!
• The slaughterhouse workers have a name for their resident sheep;
• It is called ‘The Judas Sheep’.
I wonder if when Judas left it was as if there is a breath of fresh air in that upper room.
• With the counterfeit disciple now gone,
• Jesus begins to talk to his true followers – the eleven disciples;
• About what it means to be his followers, his disciple.
• Ill: Word ‘disciple’ comes from the word ‘discipline’.
• A disciple is someone who means business with God;
• And what Jesus will share with them (recorded in the next three chapters of this gospel);
• Is not for the faint-hearted!
• And in our passage – 8 verses;
• Jesus begins by sharing 3 marks, 3 signs, 3 qualities of what it takes to follow Him.