John 13:31-38 – The New Commandment of Love

John 13:31-38 (ESVST)
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “ Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 

It is Judas who has gone out in the above verse. Once he left, Jesus told them that now he is Glorified and God is also glorified in him. Jesus also said that if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him at once. Sounds confusing but what it means is simply that through Jesus death on the cross, God will be glorified and through that, God will glorify him as well. Paul in Romans 3 also stated that Jesus’s death glorifies God.
Romans 3:25-26 (ESVST)
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God ‘s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Jesus also, when he was praying said this.
John 17:1 (ESVST)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “ Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
So, both God and Jesus will be glorified through Jesus’s death. God first and then Jesus.

33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘ Where I am going you cannot come. ’ 

It was normal during those days for a teacher to call his disciples “little children” and sometimes the disciples will also call him “father”. This can also be seen in the first book of John
1 John 2:1 (ESVST)
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
James is also reffering to his readers as little children. 

Jesus repeats what he said to the Jews in chapter 7:33-34 and 8:21-24 that, they will seek him but they will not find him because where he is going, they cannot come. Jesus explains the reason why he told the Jews that, where he is going they cannot come. The reason is found in chapter 8:24:
John 8:21-24 (ESVST)
So he said to them again, “ I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘ Where I am going, you cannot come ’?” 23 He said to them, “ You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
Now as you can see, the Jews cannot follow Jesus unless they beleive and if they don’t, they would die in their sins. Now was Jesus saying that the disciples will also die in their sins and cannot come where he is? Certainly not, if you read verse 36 below, Jesus explains that they will not come where he is going now, but they will follow afterwards. After what? The answer is found in chapter 14:1-4 where Jesus said that he was first going to prepare the rooms first for them and he will come back and take them one at a time.
So unlike the Jews who cannot come altogether because they don’t to beleive, the disciples cannot come now only because Jesus is going to prepare for them first and then he will come and collect them afterwards.

34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Then Jesus moves on to another topic of Love. He then tells them that he is giving them a new commandment. Jesus said “love one another just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another”. Jesus then told them, if you do this, then everyone will know that you are my disciples. Surely this cannot be knew, this commandment is also found in the Old Testament in Levictus.
Leviticus 19:18 (ESVST)
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:I am the Lord.
So why does Jesus say its new, look closely, it is because the Old Testament command says love your neighbor as you love yourself whereas this one says love one another as I have loved you. As you can see, Jesus changed the standard of love. In the Old Testament command, the standard of love is yourself and in the New Testament, the standard of love is Jesus to the point of death. Jesus says that if the dicpsles do this, this will be a sign to everyone else that they are truly Jesus’s disciples. Jesus loved his disciples to the point of death and likewise, the disciples must love one another to the point of death. This kind of love is only for those that are Jesus’s disciples and therefore believers. If the person is a non believer, you will love him as you love yourself. To a believer, the standard is Jesus but to a non believer, you are the standard.

36 Simon Peter said to him, “ Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “ Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “ Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Verses 36, I have already explained above. As for Peter, we once again we see his self righteous character. Jesus you cannot wash my feet. Now we see here saying that, “Jesus I will die for you”. Jesus humbly and with love asks Peter if he will truly truly die for him. Before he could answer, Jesus tells Peter that before the rooster crows, he would have denied him 3 times. Peter here relied on his own efforts when he said he will die for Jesus and Jesus shows him here that your own efforts are fruitless compared to what you are about to face.
Posted in John 13, The Gospel of John.

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