Gospel: John 13:31-35
Epistle: Revelation 21:1-7
Lesson: Acts 11:1-18
Psalm: Psalm 148
CLB Commentary – Dr. Eugene Boe
This text brings us back to the farewell discourses of Jesus where in private he teaches his disciples. Frederick Dale Bruner suggests that “Jesus now proceeds to teach his disciples, in an almost systematic way, the deepest truths about the Father (13:31–14:31), about the Son (chap. 15), and about the Holy Spirit (chap. 16), concluding by praying his main petitions for his apostolically Christocentric Church (chap. 17).”1 He further notes that “Jesus’ Discipleship Sermons (John 13–16 plus chap. 17’s Closing Prayer) are Jesus’ compact Systematic Theology for his missionary Church; we may consider them Jesus’ Small Catechism.”2
When you hear the word glory what kinds of images form in your mind? Jesus begins this passage by saying “Now is the son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.” Jesus is on the way to the cross. How can this be glory time? Suffering, taunting, accusations, cursed, condemned, and the ultimate of death does not speak of a glory time. But our thoughts are not his thoughts nor are our ways his way. Jesus uses the “glorify” word no less than five times in these first two verses. Bruner puts it like this:
In the dying and then rising of the Father’s obedient Son, the human race learns the depth and the height of the seeking Father’s missionary love for the world. This Father never received more glory than when his Lamb-like Son, in complete obedience to his Father’s will, laid down his life “to take away the sin of the world” (1:29)—though the glory of the Resurrection rivals the glory of the Crucifixion, for in Jesus’ Resurrection God conquered death and validated Jesus’ Cross and truth. When the Son went down so low in obedience to his Father, the world saw how far down the Father and Son, in mutual accord, were willing to go to rescue their world. (Or, in one of John’s favorite idioms, when the Son was “lifted up” on the Cross, and subsequently “lifted” again in the Resurrection and Ascension, the world learned how “highly” the Father and his Son thought of their lost world.). The glory of God in the Gospel of John is, first of all and centrally, the Crucifixion of the Son of Man who then became, for us, the risen Son of God.3
Out of Jesus being “glorified”, in which he has loved us, comes the love for one another (13:34-35). Here again I find the comments of Bruner helpful.
The Greek word kathōs, often translated “as,” is not only comparative (“as”) but also causative (“from”), as many commentators and grammarians point out, so that Jesus’ Love Command can be better heard as “Have a heart for one another from my heart for you,” which I translated (to give a little more force to the preposition’s power) “out of the resource of my heart for you.” (One could legitimately translate or paraphrase our Gospel idiom this way, to give the sentence a picture: “out of the well of my heart for you.”)4
The path that Jesus walks in loving us to the ultimate is the source for our loving one another, which marks us as his followers.
1 Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI;Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans, 2012), 785.
4 Ibid. 796.