John 13.31-35 – The World of the Text

Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections: 

Today we’re going to continue our look at John 13: 31-35.  Today we are going to take some time today to talk about what’s actually happening in the text that we read here. This is a very interesting passage that Jesus tells us because it starts off in verse 31, through verse 32, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man has been glorified.  The Son of Man is it is an apocalyptic title, that Jesus uses it for himself. It references back to Daniel.  In Daniel, there’s this whole apocalyptic story about how one will come like a son of man and will judge the world. When Jesus calls himself the Son of Man, he’s invoking the prophecies of Daniel.  We are told that the Son of Man has been glorified and God’s been glorified in him being glorified. In other words, he’s been glorified in the cross. I mean, in our churches, you see crosses everywhere.  That would be an odd thing to think about in Jesus’ day, the cross being gloried, because the cross was a horrific means of execution that Rome would use. It was awful. It was one the worst of all the ways of all the terrible ways we as humans have come up with executing each other.   But he says that God has been glorified in him.   In other words, the cross will glorify God, because Jesus will atone for the sins of the world. But then the glorification of God will not just stop at the cross will continue to the grave, because in the resurrection, God’s power is fully seen that Jesus and the Father are glorified, not just in the cross, but in the resurrection. And God will glorify Him and himself and will glorify him at once.

For Jesus, the path of glorification is not a path of privilege, our path of power, our path of ease, our path of might. But for Jesus, the path of glorification for him was going to be a path that led to the cross. And then to the empty grave.

Jesus says, this is coming, but before that comes, I will now give you a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. Love one another

We see Jesus’ example of love. Right before this when he washes their feet. In the biblical sense, love is not emotion. We see love in terms of emotion, for Jesus, and for the biblical writers. Love was never emotion. Love was always service. Love was always action. Love was always something we do, not something we feel.  Love calls us to act.  Jesus tells us that this action, this it the mark of what it means to be a disciple of His. 

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