Series:        The Gospel of John

Title:          Loving as Jesus Loved

Text:          John 13: 31-38

Purpose:    By studying these verses we are reminded that: Jesus commands us to love one another even as He loved us.

Speaker:    Bishop Jake Givan, Jr., D. Min

        January 26, 2020

Jesus revealed the “new commandment” in John 13:34–35, while speaking to His disciples on the night He was betrayed by Judas. He had watched His
traitorous disciple leave the dinner table to complete the evil deed. After Judas was gone, Jesus spoke to the remaining eleven: “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.”

Jesus had taught the disciples many things during the three years they had been together, but this new commandment was the final one before He was
crucified. What would it take to impact the world as He had done? It wouldn’t be their speaking abilities, their miracle-working powers, or their courage.
Jesus said the world would be drawn to His message when it saw His followers continuing to love each other.

In giving the new commandment, Jesus laid the foundation for the formation of a group of people unique in human history. Jesus created a group identified
by one thing: love. Other groups may identify themselves by skin color, by uniform, by shared interests, by adherence to a code of behavior, by alma mater,
etc. But the church is unique. For the first and only time in history, Jesus created a group whose identifying factor is love. Followers of Christ are recognized
by their love for each other.

The crux of this command is to understand how Jesus loved us. Our text reveals five aspects of this love.

Lesson outline:

1.         Jesus’ love was costly love (John 13:31-32).

2.         Jesus’ love was caring love (John 13:33).

3.         Jesus’ love was commanded love (John 13:34).

4.         Jesus’ love was conspicuous love (John 13:35).

5.         Jesus’ love was committed love (John 13:36-38).

I recognize that this kind of love is the ideal and we live in a sinful world that presents us with many difficult situations that require prayerful wisdom to
obey Jesus’ command. I can only offer a few seeds for thought here on how to apply this.

Does loving someone require that I like that person? Does it mean that I must become a close friend with a difficult person? By looking at Jesus’ example, I
have to say, “Not necessarily.” While He loved all people, He did not give His time equally to all. He spent the most time with His disciples, but even among
the twelve, He was closer to Peter, James, and John. And John is the only one called, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:1, 23).

Jesus didn’t even spend time with His half-brothers when He had the opportunity. He could have gone up to the feast with them (John 7:1-10), which would
have meant several days of traveling together. He could have used that time to influence them, since they were not yet believing in Him. But He let them go
alone and then He went later by Himself.

Jesus also loved His enemies, the Jewish leaders, but He constantly provoked and confronted them. He instructed His disciples to shake the dust off their
feet and move on if people rejected them and their message (Matt. 10:14). Apparently, that was the loving thing to do, since Jesus never would have
commanded them not to love their enemies (Matt. 5:44).

Also, since biblical love seeks the highest good for the other person, namely, that he become more like Christ, love sometimes requires confronting the person
with his sin or letting him experience the consequences of his sin so that he learns to hate it (Acts 8:18-24; 13:6-12). Love does not enable a person to
continue in sinful or irresponsible ways. Love tries to help a person learn to be obedient to God and responsible to “bear his own load” (Gal. 6:5).

I don’t say any of this to give you a cop out from loving difficult people, but rather, as Paul put it (Phil. 1:9), my aim is “that your love may abound still
more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.” I encourage you to meditate often on the characteristics of love (1 Cor. 13:4-7): “Love is patient, love
is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into
account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things.” Then go through Paul’s letters and his actions in the Book of Acts and see how he worked out those qualities in real situations.

Growing in love requires lifelong effort. You will experience many failures. But your aim should be to love others even as Jesus loves you

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