Copyright ©2018 Keith Holder, Rays of Light Bible Lessons. All Rights Reserved.

Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE NEW COMMANDMENT IS LOVE

John 13:31-35 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Following the identification of Judas Iscariot as His Satan-inspired betrayer, Jesus taught these lessons to His remaining eleven apostles. After the betrayer was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. Although His death on the cross of Calvary is often spoken of as His glorification, yet it seems to be only the first step that will lead to the glory He will attain when he ascends into heaven and there be seated on the throne reserved for Him at the right hand of God, His Heavenly Father. This entire event would lead to His glorification - His crucifixion and burial, His resurrection and the appearances He made to prove the He was raised from, and conquered, death, and His ascension back into heaven from whence He came. By all these things the Son of man, Christ Jesus, would be glorified. And as the Son was to be glorified, He would also bring glory to His Heavenly Father.

If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him. Here, we are assured that the glorification of Jesus will take place straightway, meaning very soon. As it was then, so it is today. The majority of people, while living on earth, deny, condemn, slander, and defame Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world, yet God glorified Him, not only while living on earth as the Son of man, but after ascending back into heaven, glorified Him as His only begotten Son. All men and women of the earth, of all ages, will one day see the glorious Savior and King seated upon His throne as the supreme Judge of mankind. Those that accepted, believed, and obeyed His doctrine, will also be glorified in the blissfulness of heaven. However, those that spent their life on earth vilifying Him, may recognize His glory, but will be assured of spending eternal live in Satan's underworld of punishment.

Jesus, knowing death would soon take Him away, grieved over the future welfare of His apostles, just as a dying parent would grieve over children they would leave behind in a cold, cruel world without their guidance. Speaking to the remaining eleven apostles, referred to here as His little children, He tells them, not only of the necessity, but also of the immediacy, of His death and glorification. With tender compassion, Jesus tries to ease the pain He will experience in His departure, as well as giving comfort to them by revealing His impending death. Jesus would soon be separated from His apostles, and for a time they must be willing to bear this separation and maintain their strength in order to continue His work in His absence. Just as He said unto the Jews (John 7:34), so He tells His apostles here, Ye shall seek me: (however) ...whither I go, ye cannot come. Although not indicated here, we know that this separation was temporary, and that soon they would follow and be reunited with Christ Jesus forever.

In order to stress the importance of unconditional love for others He requires of His followers, Jesus, once again gives His apostles a new commandment. Not only are they to love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another, but eventually they must teach this Christian tenet throughout the entire world. To demonstrate the importance of this doctrine, it is mentioned throughout the New Testament. The great spiritual worth of brotherly love is recorded extensively in the Holy Spirit-inspired writings of John's gospel and his epistles (See John 15:12-13; 15:17; 17:21; 1 John 2:8-10; 3:14-16). Not only is brotherly love a characteristic that demonstrates our love for God (1 John 4:7-11; 4:21; 2 John 5), but it is also necessary to demonstrate to the world that one is a follower of Christ, a Christian, and a member of His church, the church of Christ. It is by this fervent, caring love for the physical and spiritual wellbeing of others that all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another. Although this doctrine was spoken to His apostles, it applies equally to all followers of Christ today. The existence and practice of true love within the body of Christ has done more to extend the borders of Christianity than any other doctrine found in God's word, and the lack of it has caused more irreparable harm.