Dead. Risen. Glorified.
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 13:31-32 (Holman) When he had gone out, Jesus said, ANow the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him at once.@
God is glorified when He is seen for what he truly is. We glorify God when the God we show is the God we know.
Judas had gone out to complete the transaction which led to the crucifixion and resurrection. Both events would glorify God the Father and God the Son.
In the resurrection the Father put His seal of approval on the work of the Son. It proved the genuineness of Jesus.
At the cross the Son showed us the true heart of God the Father. It is strange that God was glorified in the death of a carpenter, but this very deed won the love of humanity for God. Apart from the cross we would be in awe of God, but would lack a sense of overflowing thankful love.
Jesus often talked of the Father=s love and demonstrated it through kind deeds. Along the way, Christ showed the Father=s love in drops, but at the cross Jesus revealed it in a flood, pouring it out for the world to see.
Do we want to know what God the Father and God the Son are really like? Look at the crucifixion and resurrection.
John 13:33 AChildren, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, >Where I am going you cannot come,= so now I tell you.@
Moving toward the cross, Jesus knew He had to walk this path alone. The Eleven could not accompany Him. He would even feel forsaken by the Father.
The cross would be difficult for Jesus, and for the disciples as well. They would despair for a while, and feel alone in a world hostile to them.
Jesus called them children. The word denoted an unusual depth of tender emotion, a pitying sense of the defenselessness they will face when left alone.
John 13:34 AI give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.@
Long before Jesus= day, the Bible had commanded people to love one another. ALove your neighbor as yourself@ (Leviticus 19:18).
Jesus= command was new in that it required love after a new model, Aas I have loved you.@ It was new also because it could not have been conceived before His life exhibited its meaning. The love Jesus showed was altogether beyond human ability to imagine on our own.
Hostility was the norm in Jesus= day. It was a world of distrust. Jews versus Gentiles, and vice versa. Greeks thanked Heaven they were not born a barbarian, which they considered all others to be. The poor hated the wealthy. Men degraded women. Masters treated slaves like cattle. In one language Astranger@ and Aenemy@ were expressed by the same word.
Because of Jesus, love began bridging deep divides. His love reached across barriers that had never been crossed before. It was a new thing, and the world was astounded. Tertullian wrote, AThe heathen exclaim with wonder, >See how these Christians love one another!=@
Jesus not only commended love as excellent and profitable, He also commanded it. Tradition says John the Beloved, our author, in his old age constantly admonished his followers, ALove one another.@
His disciples grew tired of hearing it and asked why he always said it. He responded, ABecause it is the Lord=s commandment; and if it only be fulfilled it is enough.@ Love one another! It is the key to success.
John 13:35 ABy this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.@
The Lord said we would be recognizable as His followers by our love for one another. Too often we don=t use Christ=s litmus test of true discipleship. We look to orthodoxy, miraculous answers to prayers, moral astuteness, denominational loyalty, etc. We sometimes overlook the most important criterion, the one Jesus laid down in our text.
Pharisees were recognized by phylacteries. Sadducees wore elaborate robes. Roman citizens were known by their togas, Roman soldiers by their armor.
We who serve Jesus wear a new badge. Our identifying mark is not a star, ribbon, medal, stripe, or clothing, but the love we display for each other.
We must love one another at whatever stage we find ourselves and others. The strong must not look down on the weak, nor the weak envy the strong.
We often say love is blind. This is not true. Otherwise love could be utter disillusionment. Real love has eyes opened wide and sees people as they really are. It accepts others for better for worse, warts and all. When Jesus= love controls us, at least three activities will permeate our churches.
One, kind words. Use them often. They spread perfume among the fellowship. Kind words awaken kind echoes. What they send is what gets returned. An echo returns the precise sound it receives: a gunshot, song, whistle, shout, or whisper. Church members also tend to echo the words they receive.
Two, kind looks. A look can say as much as words. Blessed be the person who has a pleasant face. My dad wears a smile naturally. His face is perpetually fixed in that position.
Most of us, not this blessed, must consciously think about putting on a soft face. Our natural look is usually halfway between a blank and a snarl. Pray for God to give us a gentle demeanor.
Three, kind deeds. Where we do not see Christlike kindness, we can be sure there is no Christlike love.
Our love must be practical. Otherwise we are in danger of becoming religious sentimentalists, feeling much, but doing little, sympathizing, but not acting. Our churches have too many sensitive plants bearing no fruit.
I read of a mother who asked her children each evening what they had done that day to make others happy. It would be good if we all took this exam daily.
Jesus spoke His love to us most loudly through a deed, by means of a self-denying act. Jesus= love contained sacrifice. Ours must too.
Beware thinking love is only meant to give us happiness. In the long run, it does bring us blessing, but along the way it can bring pain and demand a cross.
Jesus= love entailed a spirit of giving at great expense to Himself. The words AHe saved others, Himself he cannot save@ were meant as a taunt, but were really the noblest praise. He could not save both. His choice was either others or Himself, and He chose to sacrifice Himself.
People honor sacrificial love. In war the supreme tribute belongs to those who fall in battle, never to return home. In medicine, the honored physicians are not the ones who make a fortune, but those who give their lives to heal others. We may forget the successful people, but usually remember sacrificial ones.
Kind words, kind looks, kind deeds. These are the ideal, but we live in a real world. How should we respond when these things are absent in a church? No kind words, no kind looks, and no kind deeds must be reacted to with kind words, kind looks, and kind deeds.
Our first impulse is to pay back an unkindness, but we must do what Jesus did. He bore it. The saying AHe begins the fight who strikes the second blow@ is true of the tongue as well as of the hand.
Pain in a fellowship can be removed only if it is absorbed by someone. Otherwise it continues to bounce around, hurting others. Someone must take the daggers B the unkind words, unkind looks, unkind deeds B into their own soul and there let them rest. This is what Jesus did for us. We must do it for others.