John 13:31-35 By This They’ll Know
Jesus gets down to business after Judas leaves. He only has a little time left and He wants to leave His disciples with some important instructions. Yes, we know He will be back, but right now He wants to impress upon these men something VERY important.
The first thing that He wants them to know is that what is coming next will actually bring glory to God. As horrible as it is going to be, in the end it will all be worth it. Judas has just left to “pull the trigger” on the final act in this drama. With Judas’ departure Jesus’ conclusion of the Father’s plan is assured. There was never any doubt but the stopwatch has now been activated. There is still coming a moment in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will ask God to look once more for another way, but He is committed to this course.
Because of Jesus’ obedience to the Father both receive glory. God for making the plan to begin with and Jesus for His obedience in carrying it out to the letter. There is nothing left undone. All is in readiness.
Earlier Jesus had told the Jews that He was going somewhere they couldn’t go and that they wouldn’t be able to find Him. He tells His disciples that they too are going to be unable to be with Him. After 3 ½ years Jesus is stepping away from His followers. Did His disciples realize that Jesus was talking about His death? The same death He had been warning them about for a while. And at the hands of the very same people He came to serve.
I can hear the “but Jesus” thoughts, and maybe voices too, as Jesus drops this bombshell on His followers. “What have we done that He would leave us?” “What are we supposed to do now?” “I thought everything was going fine. We were nearly ready to have the crowd crown Him. Why would He leave now?”
Before they can throw all their questions at Jesus, He gives them a new job. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (verse 34). This was a TALL order. Not more than an hour ago they had been arguing about who was the greatest in their group. That certainly wasn’t loving. “But we’re not ready yet! You can’t leave! We need more time. What if we mess up? Who is going to help us then?” “I don’t want You to go!”
“I’m sorry fellas, staying is not an option. You will have to carry on in My place. And if you love one another the same way I have loved you, everyone will know that you are my disciples. You must love unconditionally. With all your being. Be willing to give your life to reach those who would come to me. THAT is the love that no one but those who follow me will be willing to share.”
Lord Jesus, I have trouble living up to that commandment more times than I care to remember. Thank You SO much for Your grace and forgiveness, even in this area of my life. I try so hard to show others You living in me, but all too often I step out of Your love and damage my testimony. It seems like those closest to me receive the least consistent love. I am often short with them instead of longsuffering. This is NOT the example You provided for me. Please help me love like You do, consistently. Have Your way in my life. Make me more like You every day. Thank You that You didn’t stay gone forever and that where You are You are preparing a place for me. I’m so looking forward to seeing You face to face. My warts and all.