Summary: 10th in the series "Conversations With Jesus." As Jesus predicts Peter’s denials, the contrasts point out what’s really important.
In my office I have a painting of a nightime scene (I showed a photo of the actual painting). What is striking about this painting is the contrast in values. It is the contrast that draws your attention to what’s important in the scene.
Proposition: In today’s conversation with Jesus there are a number of points of contrast, which I think can draw our attention to what’s important not just in this passage, but to things of ultimate importance. So as we look at the passage together I’d like to focus on those contrasts with you.
Transition: The first one that I see is the contrast between:
Prophecy & Fulfillment
vv. 31-32 When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
Jesus is refering here to the fulfilment of His mission on earth which will take place the next day on the cross. Here is the fulfillment of His destiny, that which was promised by the prophets. The prophets looked forward with great delight--the ultimate day in the history of the world, the day when tear in the fabric of human history would be mended a day of great joy.
Even here as Jesus speaks of it, it is a day of Glory, God the Father Glorifies the Son.
But we look at it with the perspective of knowing what the next day will bring. A day that seems anything but glorious. A day of blood and brutality. A day of death. Yet on that day God’s glory truly was revealed because there at the cross the fulness of God’s nature was revealed.
Another word for an intersection in "crossroads" and at the cross on that hill called Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem history came to a crossroad. On that day where the blood of Christ spilled God’s perfect Justice met God’s perfect love. There the penalty that had to be paid was paid once and for all, yet it was paid not by those who owed the debt but by the sinless son of God in the supreme sacrifice of love.
There God was glorified in the contrast between Prophecy and it’s fulfillment.
The second contrast I notice is in the command that Jesus gives to the disciples at that final meal they shared. In that command, the Lord contrasts
Passion & Friendship
v. 34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Now I don’t know if you’re like me or not. But when I read that statement my initial reaction is confusion. How is Love a new commandment? Isn’t the OT filled with God’s command to love? Hadn’t Jesus himself pointed to the OT commands to love God and neighbors as the two greatest commands? What’s new about this command?
What’s new is the standard for love, Jesus says "As I have loved you, so you must love one another." He Himself becomes the standard for how he loves. We are to love not just with a friendly love, but with a passionate love. With the kind of love that led Jesus to the cross.
It was the end of July, 1941 in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Suddenly the sirens shrieked and the sentries shouldered their weapons. It was an escape. The men of cellbock 14 silently prayed that the escapee had not been from their block, but that evening their worst fears were confirmed. The next day the remaining 600 men from block 14 were forced to stand on the parade ground under the broiling sun. Men fell over from the heat and fatigue and left to die where they lay. At the end of the day Deputy Commander Fritch arrived to announce the fate of the terrified men. Since the escapee had not been found ten of the men would die by starvation in his place. The next time it would be twenty. The names of the ten men selected were read aloud. When the name of Polish army sergeant Frank Gayonichek was read he began sobbing "My wife and children." Suddenly a Polish Franciscan Priest named Maximillian Kolbe pushed his way to the front. The SS guards pointed the rifles at his chest but he didn’t flinch. "I want to speak to the commander." He looked Fritsch straight in the eye and said, "I wish to die in this man’s place, I have no wife or children and I’m old and not good for anything."
The request was totally out of the ordinary and completely unexpected. There was utter silence until the commander replied, "request granted."