31 After Judas was gone, Jesus spoke. He said, “Now the Son of Man receives glory. And he brings glory to God. 32 If the Son brings glory to God, God himself will bring glory to the Son. God will do it at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me. Just as I told the Jews, so I am telling you now. You can’t come where I am going. 34 “I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. 35 If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” 36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going you can’t follow now. But you will follow me later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow you now? I will give my life for you.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really give your life for me? What I’m about to tell you is true. Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me!
Jesus gives the command to love one another as He has loved us in the context of His soon to occur death and resurrection (the meaning of Him being glorified and glorifying the Father). What Jesus is saying here would have been quite unsettling for the disciples – “where I am going, you cannot come…” Jesus knew the full meaning of what He was saying, but the disciples would have been all but completely confused. Yet this command to love one another sticks out.
For me, this command appears to have two purposes for Jesus – to bind them together in the immediate future and well beyond – in the coming days and weeks, when things get very confusing and beyond what they had imagined or thought of. But more than that, this command to love as Jesus loved speaks to me of the way that Jesus intended to be present ongoing, even though he was “going elsewhere.”
The Bible tells us that God is love – whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. But not just any love – the love of Jesus; sacrificial, patient, self-giving, other concerned love. I am moved by seeing that Jesus fully intended His love to have a potent and central power in what was to take place after His death and resurrection; bind His people together, and be one of the key evidences of His ongoing presence with His people. The question and call of this passage is this; how much are you choosing to pursue a life of the Jesus kind of love, Rob, and further, is this the central call of your life as His follower!
Lord, I heed your words here. I will continue to grow in loving the people around me as you have loved me, and I know that in so doing, you are wonderfully present and working the binding effect of your love upon us as we live it. There is no more powerful way to be bound together than by the love of God! Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh