Sunday 28 April 2013

Bible Book:

John 13:31-35 Sunday 28 April 2013


Today we understand this passage and the glory ofGod through Jesus' death, resurrection and being placed on theright hand of God in heaven, through what we read in the NewTestament. The disciples here are being told without theunderstanding we have through his death and resurrection. Thepassage is placed between Jesus foretelling that Judas will betrayhim (verses 21-29) and Peter will deny him (verses36-38).

This piece of Scripture is hugely different fromthe themes of denial or betrayal: instead of a negative it pointstowards a vision of the disciples and their behaviour afterChrist's death in a positive manner. It appears that Jesus istrying to help the disciples come to terms with the events thatwill unfold, and how the events leading up to Jesus' death willglorify God, but it's a journey only Jesus will take. The discipleswill have to stand in the gap without Jesus there, continuing hisradical teaching of love. This is what will distinguish them fromother disciples of other religious leaders at the time; this isparticularly evident in verse 35.

Jesus refers to his disciples as "little children"(v. 33). Matthew 19:14 says "for it is to such as these[little children] that the kingdom of heaven belongs". The phrasein John's Gospel in which Jesus refers to his followers as littlechildren could be seen as the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom ofGod's glory shall also belong to his disciples.

Ultimately this passage is about Jesus' newcommandment of love, one which the followers of Jesus will be knownby, a commandment passed on from Jesus to the disciples and fromthem to all followers.

To Ponder

  • "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if youhave love for one another." How can others see that you are afollower of Jesus?
  • How do you think this new commandment made the disciples feel?How does it make you feel?
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