Sunday 15 May 2022

Bible Book:

‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ (v. 35)

John 13:31-35 Sunday 15 May 2022

Psalm 148


Today’s passage takes place in the upper room before Passover and follows Jesus’ foot-washing (John 13:1-20) and prophecy of his forthcoming betrayal (13:21-31). The text falls into two sections: Jesus’ declaration of God’s glory at work in him (vs 31-33), and Jesus’ call to love one another (vs 34-35).

With Judas having left (v. 31), Jesus explains that the ‘Son of Man’ – Jesus himself – has been glorified and will be glorified. The ‘Son of Man’ is used in the gospels as a term for Jesus, and may allude to Daniel 7:13-14 where the Son of Man is granted authority to rule on earth. In John’s Gospel, however, God glorifies the Son of Man in his suffering and death (12:23-24; 17:1). This has begun with the betrayal of Judas, which moves Jesus’ fate inexorably towards the Cross. Associating the Cross with glory is of course deeply paradoxical, but God uses this instrument of torture as a means of salvation for the world. God’s glory is found in Jesus’ radical sacrifice for others. Jesus also tells his disciples that he will only be with them a little longer, and where he is going, they’ll not be able to follow (v. 33).

Jesus also leaves the disciples with a ‘new commandment’, the call to love one another. While this command has its roots in the Jewish Scriptures (Leviticus 19:18), Jesus’ grounds it in his own example: "Just as I have loved you, so you also should love one another" (v. 34b). This points back to Jesus’ willingness to wash his disciples’ feet but also the general call to sacrifice oneself for the other.

While love for one another is a response to Jesus’ love for his disciples, it is also a sign of following Jesus; others will recognise disciples by their mutual love (v. 35).

To Ponder:

  • How might the message of God’s glory in and through the Cross continue to challenge us today?
  • In what ways do you and your church community prioritise Jesus’ ‘new commandment’?


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