Love Like This: Red Letter Year 12/3

John 13.31 – 14:4

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will soon give glory to the Son. 33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”

And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”

37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”

38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter — before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me. 14.1 Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”


Okay, last day using the foot washing painting, but I’m holding onto it because I still think John wants it echoing in our heads as we read this new commandment Jesus is giving: love each other like I have loved you, love like this. Love like people willing to serve each other, willing to throw off all privilege and power and do the lowliest tasks out of love for each other. We can also take Jesus to be referring ahead of time to the cross, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the small, everyday sacrifices we can make for each other that shows love and makes life together both possible and joyful.

Also take note of the glory talk in v.31-32. Jesus is entering his glory (does he mean cross or resurrection or both?), by which he will bring glory to the Father (sounds like cross), even as the Father gives glory to the Son (sounds like resurrection). We will see this again in the coming chapters – the members of the Trinity giving glory to each other. In tracing this giving back and forth – this glorifying, honoring, magnifying each other – we begin to see the mutuality that is essential to our understanding of Trinity. Quite the opposite of a hierarchy in God, this mutual glorifying speaks to the unity built on trust within the Godhead, the freedom built on hope within the Godhead, and the equality built on love within the Godhead. The members of the Trinity trust each other, hope for each other, and love each other. This may seem like a lot to get from today’s reading. It is, but I am taking this from what we are about to read in chapters 14-17. We get a prelude to it here at the end of chapter 13. I will be unpacking this in the days to come as we read further.

Finally, I want to say a word about Peter. This will come up again as well, but pay close attention to 13.36-38. Peter asks where Jesus is going. Jesus tells Peter he can’t come now, but he will follow later (<- mark that). Peter protests and says he is ready to die for Jesus. Then Jesus questions Peter’s death wish and says he is going to lie about knowing Jesus three times that night. What is so interesting to me is that before Jesus questions Peter’s claim to be willing to die, he has already prophesied that Peter will do just that – die for Jesus. That is what, “but you will follow me later,” means. We will come back to this near the very end of the year, but for now, we can take encouragment that Jesus knew what was in Peter’s heart even before he spoke it. Jesus knew it was truer than Peter knew it. Jesus knew that Peter was going to do both – lie about knowing Jesus to a tween girl and then insist on being crucified upside down out of deference for his Lord.

And this is why today’s reading wraps into the beginning of chapter 14 (yet another bad place for a chapter break). Jesus doesn’t leave the rebuke hanging, he goes right on to say, “don’t let your hearts be troubled.” This is the same thing he says to us. Jesus knows the worst of us – we betray (like we read yesterday), we deny, we make brash promises; and he knows the best of us – we love like he loves, we lay down our lives for him and for each other, even in our brashness we speak what we hope to be true. We can trust him to save us from the worst of ourselves and transform us into the best of ourselves. We can trust Jesus to help us love like this – like people who wash feet and make promises long before we’re ready to keep them. John has shown how Jesus set the example for serving and giving our lives. In what follows, his Gospel will explain how the Holy Spirit comes to empower us to replicate those examples and live in that trusting, hoping, loving way of life that God enjoys within the Trinity.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.