~This is the last part of the 6-part series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Donna ended last Thursday’s teaching with this magnificent statement:
Jesus knew He must be the sacrifice—the Lamb—so the timetable could be kept.
Recall that none of the disciples seemed to suspect Judas, not before this and not now. This should convince us that we cannot be the judge of the hearts of others—the wheat and tares again [see Our Selfless Savior, Part 4].
Immediately, Jesus begins to talk of the fact that He is going to be glorified “…and this will be accomplished through His death and resurrection. From the human side the cross looks like shame and defeat, but God is glorified in [Jesus] because the salvation of the world will be wrought through the cross.” (1)
Therefore 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 will glorify Him immediately…” —John 13:31-32
Then Jesus addresses His other disciples as His “little children.” He tells them again that He is leaving them and they can’t go with Him now but will follow later. He gives them instructions to love one another as He loves them:
Notice that He says (in verse 35) that “by this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
Am I loving others to this extent? Am I an example of His love to those I don’t even like?
With all I see going on around me in this world, it grieves to me to confess I know that I don’t. I must guard my heart. I must ask God to instill the love of Christ in me when my natural inclination is to lash out in indignation.
We are to hate evil, as it is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). But like Jesus showed us over and over again, we are to love the sinner.
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right 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, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” —John 13:36-38
The last verses are so poignant. Can you just imagine what Peter must have thought when he declared his bravado for his own strength and Jesus told him he would deny Him three times? Do you think perhaps Peter thought Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans now?
From all accounts none of the disciples seemed to understand that Jesus had to die.
Jesus even said in verse 7 of this chapter: “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Judas “guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees” and that “they were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons” (John 18:3).
This passage goes on to say that Jesus asked them, “Who is it you want?” and they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus responded, “I am He,” the multitude “drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:6).
When Peter witnessed all of this, do you think he believed this is where Jesus was beginning his “takeover” of the Romans and that was what fueled him to use his sword to fight and cut off the ear of Malcus?
We can’t know, but it is comforting to read what Jesus says immediately after He told Peter he would deny Him three times:
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. —John 14:1
It is my hope that my heart won’t be troubled either as I fail to be all He would like me to be.
How about you, Beloved? Where is your Hope?
(1) J. Vernon McGee, Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), 456.