All this week, we’re asking various Buckhead Church staff to share thoughts to help us prepare for Easter and reflect on the events of Holy Week. Today, we’ll hear from Mike Glogorski who works in our Care Ministry.
From John 13:21–35 (NIV):
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If you had only a few moments with your closest friends or family to share with them the most important things you had learned over the course of your life—the things you really wanted them to remember—what would you say?
The passage above includes a section of Jesus’ last words to his closest friends and followers before his impending crucifixion. He knows he is about to be betrayed. He knows who his betrayer is, and he knows how his arrest will go down. In short, he knows his time is limited. In verse 33, he says,
“I will be with you only a little longer . . .Where I am going, you cannot come.”
He sets them up, builds their interest, and then lays it on them. He has already presented so much rich knowledge to his disciples. He has already shared so much wisdom and instruction. But in these last moments of privacy with those closest to him, he says:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34–35 NIV)
With those first six words, “A new command I give you,” I think Jesus is saying (my words, not his): “All the other stuff I’ve said is important, but this—this is what you’re going to need when I’m gone. This is what’s going to keep you together when things get tough. This is the example I want you to set for others. This is what’s going to establish what it means to be a follower of Christ.” In terms of our most recent message series, “This is what people should think of when they hear the term Christian.”
I for one have read this many times and thought: “Okay, I need to love others. I can do that.” But I missed the miracle. I have found myself loving only those who were most easy to love. I’ve found myself doing a pretty good job of loving those closest to me—and even some of those on whom I took pity—but I completely missed the big picture from this passage.
The thing that sets Jesus apart from the rest of us in this regard is his love for those who hurt him. He knew Judas was going to betray him. He knew that Peter, James, and John would soon fall asleep after he asked them to keep watch while he prayed his most vulnerable prayers. He knew that Peter would soon disown him after claiming that he would die for him.
In spite of all that, Jesus loved them. He humbled himself in the lowest way possible. He washed their feet. He shared meals with them. He allowed them into his inner circle knowing full well that they would fail him. And still he loved them.
Later that night, after the Last Supper, but before he was arrested, Jesus prayed. He prayed specifically for you. In John 17:20, Jesus says (referring to his disciples at the time),
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”
You see, Jesus loves you the same way he loved those closest to him back then. He knew as he gave this “new command” to his disciples that you would be born, that you would hurt him, that you would hurt others, and still he prayed for you. He loves you. He died for you. He rose for you.
As we consider today the command Jesus gave his disciples on what we now call Good Friday to “love one another,” let us remember how he loved the most unlovable. Let us remember how he loves us.
Mike is the Director of Care Groups at Buckhead Church. In his role, he oversees our ministries for marriage enrichment, divorce recovery and grief recovery. He also meets with couples and men who are looking for pastoral guidance. Mike, his wife Jennifer, and their 4 year old son Chip live in Cumming.
do stuffdiscuss nicely
postedapr 5, 2012