Summary: This is the 44th sermon in a series on the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at the command to love one another, and how that is a true mark of belonging to Christ
Love and Obey (John Part 44)
Text: John 13:31-14:15
Well, we’re back in John’s Gospel this morning, and we’ll be finishing up chapter 13, and moving in to the first part of chapter 14, and we’ll be looking at some important teachings from Jesus that we need to be reminded of. So as you’re turning to John chapter 13, let me re-cap what we’ve looked at so far: Jesus and the disciples are in Jerusalem, they’ve come to celebrate the Passover. And If you recall before they began the meal, Jesus got up and washed their feet, giving us a lesson on serving one another and forgiving one another, and we asked the question – How can we ever withhold forgiveness from one another when God forgives us for rebellion against Him, and for the murder of His only begotten Son Jesus? And the answer to that is – we really can’t. We have no grounds to withhold forgiveness, when God in Christ so readily forgives us.
Then a couple of weeks ago, just before Memorial Day, we looked at Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. We talked about how this guy had walked with Jesus and spent time with Jesus for 3 and ½ years, and he had seen Jesus’ heart and for others; he had seen Jesus perform miracles, he had listened to the teachings of Jesus, and yet, because Jesus didn’t match Judas’ expectations of what the Messiah was supposed to be, he betrayed the Lord. And we see that happen all the time really… people have an idea of what Jesus is supposed to be like, but their idea is based on what they want, and isn’t informed by Scripture. And so the lesson for us in that was that we have to make sure the Jesus we’re following is the Jesus of Scripture, and not a “Jesus” created in OUR OWN image.
So… in this text; Judas has just gotten up and left… He’s gone out to betray Jesus, and Jesus knows that His time on this earth is short. He’s going to be nailed to a cross in a matter of hours, and so these words are some of the last things He’s going to tell the disciples before He dies. And so Jesus starts out by saying, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him…” And that immediately takes us into the mind of God and shows us how different God’s perspective is compared to ours. I mean, if most of us were about to be condemned to death in the most painful way imaginable, for crimes we didn’t commit, and abandoned by all of our friends, I don’t think we would feel like that was very glorious, or glorifying – but in God’s big picture, this does bring glory to Himself. It shows His love and mercy, and compassion. It shows His grace, His holiness, and His justice, all in one event. It is the most amazing, and glorious, and mind-boggling event in all of human history!
And so Jesus says this, again, giving us a glimpse into the mind of God, but then I can imagine Him looking at His disciples… these ignorant, confused, clueless group of guys, and I can just see His heart for them in this… and He looks at them and says, “Guys, I’m going to have to go away for a little while. And where I’m going, you’re not going to be able to come.” Now we know that’s not a permanent thing, and so did Jesus, and He tells them that in John 14:2-3 where He says, “I’m going to prepare a place for you, and then I’ll come again and take you to the place I’ve prepared, so that where I am, there you may also be.” But He has to go and do that. He has to go. He has to die for their sin, and our sin, so that we can be with Him. Otherwise, we could NEVER be with Him. The price has to be paid, and God’s justice and wrath has to be propitiated. And so Jesus tells them that – “I have to go away.” BUT… He goes on, and in verse 34 He tells them something. He says, “Guys I have to go away, but while I’m gone, I’m going to give you a new commandment… LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
Now sometimes people read that and they ask, “How is that a new commandment? I mean; way back in Leviticus 19:18 God says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. And Jesus said the same thing to the Rich Young Ruler, that he was to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself… so how is the commandment to love new?”