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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 13:31-38 (ESV)

Posted on September 01, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 13:31-38 (ESV) - When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 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.’ 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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 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.

Question to consider: What was new about Jesus’ command to love one another?

As I mentioned in the introduction to this study, I believe there are two issues that John was encountering at the time he wrote this gospel account. The first was the teachings of the Nicolaitans (or the Gnostics if you hold to a writing date of after AD 90) which took a Platonic and hedonistic view of the flesh to such an extent that they denied that God could have been made flesh and dwelt among us. To that end, John went out of his way to emphasize that Jesus is God and that He came in flesh and sustains us with His own body and blood.

The second was that his brothers and sisters John served in the Ephesian church, who despised the teachings of the Nicolaitans, had lost their first love according to Jesus in Revelation 2:1-7. I’m a firm believer in the pursuit of sound doctrine, but I also recognize that it can become such a consuming pursuit that it takes precedence over other, more vital, service in the church. Also, if we aren’t careful, the information can end up being delivered in an unkind manner. Our goal should be for us to know God more intimately so that we may walk more closely with Him.

When Jesus gave the command to love one another, people have in mind the second table of the Law— those words dealing with our love of neighbor. So if God’s command for us to love our neighbor was as old as the Law itself, what about this was new? Our love of neighbor in the Law was to be as significant as our love of self. We call this the golden rule, and most of the world’s religions affirm this kind of love. However, Jesus did not call the disciples to recommit themselves to the golden rule. He commanded them to love one another as He had loved them. How had Jesus loved them? He had just washed their feet. He treated them as more significant than Himself. He was about to die for them.

Peter’s reaction to this was similar to our own. I love You Jesus! I will serve You Jesus! I will do big things for You Jesus! You don’t have to lay down Your life for me because I will lay my life down for You! Not only did Jesus prophetically point out that Peter was lying to himself about that notion, Jesus wasn’t asking Peter to do this. Instead, Jesus was asking Peter to sacrificially love His church.

Most of us don’t have a problem loving Jesus, because, quite frankly, Jesus is pretty easy to love. However, if we truly love Christ, we will desire to obey His command to sacrificially love His church which can certainly be much more difficult to do.


Dear Lord, thank You for loving us enough to lay down Your life for us and to take it up again so that we may be raised to new life in You. Help us to love and serve our brothers and sisters in the faith in such a way that the outside world knows we belong to You. Please forgive us for the times we have fallen short of this. Amen.