31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him at once. 33 "Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, 'Where I am going you cannot come,' so now I tell you. 34 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." — John 13:31-35
By This All Will Know
by Doug Jones
Earlier this year we had a sermon series entitled “Loving Well: Healthy Relationships.” Throughout those weeks we were challenged to love God with all that we are, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to share our lives with others in a way that truly impacts our walk with Christ. We were created for love—to love and be loved by God, and to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies.
Today we are looking at a well-known passage that contains one of Jesus’ foundational teachings on love. The context of this passage is the Lord’s Supper. Jesus is quickly approaching the culmination of His earthly ministry. He has lived with His disciples for over three years: teaching them, spending intimate time with each of them, explaining the parables, answering their questions and doubts, and spurring them on to love and good deeds.
He also rode the raging seas with them, calming the storms (and their fears), and on one occasion He even let one of them walk on water. He allowed them to see His glory and power, while continually revealing the Father to them and loving the multitudes who followed Him. Jesus showed them what it truly means to love God, to be a man of prayer, to seek and save the lost, to forgive sinners, and to bring hope to the hopeless.
And now he is celebrating the final Passover meal with them. As we pick up our story, Judas has just left the upper room. Only Jesus knows why he left, where he was going, and the consequent nightmare that would quickly descend on them. Jesus then looks at the remaining disciples and says a couple things that didn’t make much sense to them. He says He will be glorified and God will be glorified in Him. He then breaks their hearts by telling them He will not be with them much longer, and they will not be able to follow Him.
Wait a minute? Didn’t Jesus tell them three years earlier to follow Him and He would make them fishers of people? What is going on?! Do the disciples even understand what He is talking about? I doubt it. Their minds were still focused on earthly things—an earthly kingdom of Israel with a national Messiah who would restore Israel to the “glory days of old,” like those of King David. None of them had a clue what Jesus was talking about.
It was in this context that Jesus gave a new command: to love as He has loved. Think about it. Jesus is calling His disciples to love one another in the same way He loves them. That’s radical love! Jesus loved us so much that He voluntarily humbled Himself to live as one of us and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sin so we could be reconciled to the Father. He commands us to love one another in the same way, so everyone will know that we are His disciples.
- What are some ways Jesus showed His love during His earthly life and ministry?
- How did Jesus show His love to the disciples during the Last Supper (John 13:1-17)?
- What is the NEW command Jesus gave His disciples?
- As you reflect on Jesus’ love for you, how can you show the love of Jesus to your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers and classmates, and yes, even your enemies?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.