The Final Lesson to Love One Another Like Christ

Jesus is a rabbi, a teacher in the Jewish culture, teaching final, critical lessons to His disciples. The upper room discourse begins in John 13:31-38. Earlier in John 13, Jesus provided an object lesson for His disciples when He washed their feet. As He will soon be departing, Jesus desires for His disciples to thrive without His physical presence, as they will not yet be able to follow Him.

No matter their fear, uncertainty, failure, or doubt, Jesus has a final, powerful lesson for His disciples to learn: that loving one another like Christ is the way of perseverance.

Glorifying God

The goal of love is glorifying God by loving like Christ (John 13:31-32). When Judas the betrayer leaves, Jesus then speaks to the faithful who remain (John 13:31-35), those who are capable of loving one another, saying, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him."

God works through problems to accomplish His purposes, putting Jesus in His rightful place and bringing glory to God. When we love like Christ, we are going to obey the Father like Christ who came to do the will of His Father.

Christ’s Perfect Sacrifice

In Jesus’s physical absence, we find our way in love as subjects of Christ’s kingdom because of His perfect sacrifice.

As the Son of God, Jesus tenderly and compassionately addresses His faithful ones as little children, knowing they do not understand God’s plans for His impending death. Christ’s perfect sacrifice is superior because no one else can accomplish it and singular because the disciples are told they cannot come (John 13:33).

Only Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, can be acceptable to the God of heaven, making a way for the disciples and all of us to follow. Christ’s perfect sacrifice is sufficient because though Peter cannot follow Jesus now, he is assured that He will follow Jesus later (John 13:36-37).

With certainty, we can all follow Jesus now because of His great love demonstrated by His sufficient and perfect sacrifice.

Our Personal Sacrifice

The evidence of loving like Jesus is found in our personal sacrifice. Christ would have us prioritize loving one another in the body of Christ so that all would know that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35). This command to love is new in that Jesus’s love, demonstrated by His perfect sacrifice, now establishes the standard for how we are to love. This love is based in the truth of obedience (John 13:36-38). Love always finds a way to obey.

Application Points

  • Is Jesus in the rightful place of your heart? Knowledge of Jesus and church attendance is not enough. Jesus must be on the throne of your heart.
  • Is your life oriented towards sacrificing for those in the body of Christ so that your love for Jesus would be evident to the lost?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Mark 14:27; Hebrews 12:2-3; Hebrews 7:24-28; 8; John 14:27-28; 1 John 3:16-18