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Sunday, March 24, 2019

posted Mar 24, 2019, 3:04 PM by Site Administrator



John 13:18-38

Key Verse 13:34


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.


          First, “So that when it does happen, you will believe” (18-30). Look at verse 18. “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’” Judas’ betrayal was a very painful thing. Jesus had loved him and worked together with him for the past three years. But then, Judas was going to sell him for 30 shekels of silver! That was really shocking. But Jesus did not see it as a failure, but as the fulfillment of the Scriptures. King David experienced such a betrayal from his trusted associates, and it was so painful that he talked about it in his Psalm. When Jesus saw that one of his trusted associates, Judas was going to betray him, he simply understood that the same thing that had happened to David was going to happen to him just as it was written in the Scriptures.


Jesus said to the disciples, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.” It was an embarrassing moment that one of his twelve apostles would betray him. But at this most delicate moment, Jesus was more concerned about his disciples than his own pain. His heart’s desire was that despite such seemingly painful events – Judah’s betrayal and his painful death – his disciples might not be shaken, but be able to see all things from God’s point of view, as the fulfillment of God’s words, so that they might keep their faith in him and live according to his will.


          Many people express their love and faith in God when things go very well, or when they see God’s helping hands, but doubt and even complain when things do not go as they expected. But remember that life comes with many challenging and even difficult moments. Sometimes, we experience painful failures. At that time, how should we respond? Jesus says, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He.” While we go through some challenging and difficult moments in our life, Jesus hopes that we will believe in him, that we will have absolute trust in him despite seemingly difficult outlooks. At the last supper, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as a wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.” (Lk 22:31,32)


Look at verse 20. Let’s read this verse together:


20I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.


          What Jesus says is a plain truth. God sends his servants to the world, and when you accept them, honor them, love them and obey them, you show your honor, love, respect and love to the one who sent them, God. By the way, why, at this moment, did Jesus talk about this? Judas thought that he was just betraying a human, named Jesus, for money; actually, betraying one’s trust and love is a terrible thing, but still, Judas was going to betray Jesus, because he loved money; he was willing to bear such blame for what he really loved, money. He never thought that he was going to reject God; he never thought that he would not believe in God any longer; instead, he would simply attend other synagogue worship service or even he would move to Jerusalem and attend the temple worship service. But now Jesus showed him that actually betraying him meant to reject the one who sent him, God. By this Jesus showed him what a terrible sin he was going to commit – he was not rejecting a man, but God. It was Jesus’ last warning for Judas Iscariot.


          After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” So far, Jesus remained strong. But now we see Jesus is troubled in his spirit. Jesus is far from being an iron man who cannot feel any pain or does not know weaknesses. Here, Jesus’ heart is broken with the pain of being betrayed by his closest friend. His heart was broken. His heart of flesh was torn and bled and his guts were wrenched inside of him. And yet, how meek he remained. Jesus was not angry or consumed with the fire of vengeance. He was genuinely broken and sad. His inner pain was beyond our description.


          Now the disciples were at a total shock. So far, Jesus had dropped several bombs, so to speak, upon the disciples by revealing the shocking truth very plainly. Once he told that the most righteous looking Pharisee, Nicodemus, would not enter the kingdom of God unless he was born again. Once he said that the Son of God would be handed over to the Gentiles, would suffer and be killed and rise again on the third day. But this bomb “one of you is going to betray me,” completely caught them by surprise. They were speechless and at a loss. The fact that this news was so shocking to them and that they could not tell whom Jesus was talking about--even after Jesus clearly gave them the clue of bread dipped in the bowl-- reveals to us how truly and completely Judas disguised himself as Jesus’ sheep. When John asked him of who would betray him, Jesus said, “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 Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.


          Look at verse 27. “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly.” “Satan entered into him.” This is a very strange expression. Does this mean that as Judas took the bread, he lost himself, and was possessed by Satan? Definitely not! This expression describes how Judas received Jesus’ last warning and challenge. When Jesus exposed everything, by dipping the piece of bread and giving it to him, Judas could see that he had known everything. It was the time when Judas must have the fear of Jesus and repent. It was the time when he had to collapse at Jesus’ feet, confess his sins and repent, saying, “I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” It was the time when he had to accept Jesus’ love for him. But he did not respond in that way. Verse 30 says that as soon Judas took the bread, he went out. As soon as he took the bread, he went out. There was no hint of hesitation at all. And his action was very repulsive showing that he was angrily determined to sell Jesus whatsoever. He hardened his heart, thinking, “Why, if you knew this, did you have to expose this openly? Why should you embarrass me this way? If this is the way you treat me, I know what to do.” In this way, he gave into his anger, and was completely determined to do what his anger desired, to sell Jesus and see him destroyed – that’s what Satan really wanted to see; in this way, he became Satan’s loyal instrument who would serve Satan’s will with all his might. This was described as, “Satan entered into him.”


          These days, we see so many people follow Judas’ footsteps, offering themselves to Satan as his loyal instruments. We don’t need to talk about laid off-employees’ shooting rampage. Two thousand years ago, Satan worked hard on Judas based on his love of money, and finally persuaded him completely. Today, Satan does not take a break. Still he roams around to find an easy prey. Don’t give into your bitterness; don’t give into the sense of vengeance or the sense of injustice. Instead, give your heart to God alone and serve Him only. Let’s not harden our hearts. When we are rebuked, or challenged to repent, let’s soften our hearts, and in fear of God, accept God’s love for us.


          Verse 28 through 30 describes the response of the rest 11 apostles. No one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charged of money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. They had formed such a bond of love and comradeship that it was even impossible to imagine that one of them would betray Jesus. Thus, Judas left from the presence of Jesus and his disciples. And it was dark. A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light. Judas would stumble, never to rise.


Second, “Now is the Son of Man glorified” (31-33). Look at verses 31 and 32. Let’s read these verses together:


When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man 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.”


          It was the most painful moment when his own beloved disciple left to sell him for money; now through his betrayal, everything was set for him to die on the cross. But Jesus did not dwell in sorrows and pains; instead, in that most painful moment, he saw the glory of God that would be revealed. And at the thought of revealing the glory of God, Jesus was now strengthened and encouraged to take up his cross to the end. The word, “glory” means to be revealed. In nature, Jesus is God the Almighty, the Word who was with God in the beginning, but when he came to the world, he didn’t live as God, but as a human, the Son of Man. In nature, he even though he was equal with God, he did not consider himself equal with God; instead, he took the form of a servant to God the Father, and obeyed his will even to the point of death. When people realize this, when people see how much Jesus humbled himself and obeyed God, they are all amazed at his perfect humility and obedience to God his Father. Who can show such perfection in humility? Only the Almighty God! Indeed, at the cross, Jesus’ glory as the Son of God, the beauty of the Word who was with God in the beginning, was revealed. “Now is the Son of Man glorified.”


          We are children of God – sons and daughters of God. Yet, we live as humans in this world. How can we reveal our glory as children of God? Some people may think that they can do it by calling down fire from heaven and burning some people. But Jesus’ example shows us that when our obedience to God’s will is complete, when we submit ourselves to God completely despite all obstacles and difficulties, there, people truly see that we are no ordinary people, but sons and daughters of God; there, we are revealed as children of God. We watched the movie, “The Insanity of God.” We were very touched by Dmitri’s story. We were very touched when the son said to his father who was like a corpse due to the torture, “I am proud of you.” Facing the death on the cross, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” Let’s pray that we may reveal God’s glory through our complete obedience.


Jesus also says, “And God is glorified in him.” When Jesus obeyed God’s command and died on the cross, God’s redemption plan was completed, and we can see that everything just happened according to God’s plan and purpose. Jesus’ death on the cross was indeed God’s victory. God was in perfect control. At the same time, God’s perfect love for the fallen mankind was revealed – God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son to die on the cross so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. When Jesus was glorified through his obedience even to death on the cross, God was glorified in his life. Here we can learn from Jesus what truly glorifies God. It is our obedience to His will. Many young Christians believe that glorifying God means doing well at school, at work, or winning in a competition. It may be true to some point. But Jesus’ words teach us that glorifying God means surrendering ourselves to the will of God and taking up our cross to fulfill God’s will.


          Look at verse 33. “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.” Now Jesus called his disciples “children.” After Judas left, the batch of the remaining disciples became truly “clean” (John 13:10). They were full of weaknesses, but they had recognized Jesus’ voice and turned to him; they were chosen people, and now children of God. The King James Version says, “Little children.” Therefore, in Jesus’ eyes, the disciples were little children. As little children love their parents, they loved Jesus. Just like little children, they were self-centered and shortsighted too. Their way of thinking was still immature and often illogical, spiritually speaking. Yet, they loved Jesus as genuinely as little children love their parents and long to spend time with them. Right now, they could not follow Jesus, because they could not die on the cross together with Jesus yet; they needed to be changed into true men of God.


          Third, “A new command I give you: Love one another” (34-38). Look at verses 34 and 35. Let us read these verses together.


“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


          Now as Jesus was leaving them, he issued this one command for them. That was to love one another, as Jesus had loved them. This was a command and a “must.” It is not an option or suggestion. They must love one another. It is their work and their mission among themselves as they served God’s work on earth. Here, Jesus called this “a new command.” In the Old Testament, there were 613 laws – do this, don’t do that, do this, and don’t do that. Jesus did not add one more commandment. Instead, he gave them, “a new command,” which his disciples must obey. As the Father issued 613 laws for the Israelites to keep, now Jesus issued one command for his disciples to keep. So it was a new command, not the extension of or addition to the old commands. Did this new command nullify the old commandments, such as the Ten commandments or other laws? No! Instead, this new command, “Love one another” is exactly what the Old Commandments talk about. The Old Testament, even the Ten Commandments, could be summarized in one word, “love” as Jesus said in Mark 12:30 and 31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” All these commandments teach us that we must love God and love our neighbors.


          What does it mean, “Love one another”? To whom does “one another” refer? Here, Jesus is referring to the disciples, especially, the Eleven. They are to love one another, meaning each of the eleven should love the other 10. Here, Jesus is not talking about loving strangers. The eleven were to love one another so that all men, the entire world may know that they are Jesus’ disciples. Notice here that the love Jesus was talking about is not a humanistic love that the world talks about. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus’ command is very specific. He commanded his disciples to love one another as he had loved them. That is why Judas Iscariot could not be included here, because he did not know the love of Jesus. He did not acknowledge Jesus’ love. He refused to accept Jesus’ love because that was not what he wanted. So there was no way for Judas to practice the love of Jesus to others.


          Only those who know and experience Jesus’ love can obey this command. That is why this command to love one another is for the community of committed believers, namely, disciples, who know the love of Jesus poured out upon them. How has Jesus loved us? First of all, while we were still sinners, while we didn’t have any interest in him, he died on the cross for us so that we might have a new life, eternal life. While we were still wayward, while we were still worldly, pursuing worthless things of this world blindly, Jesus loved us and followed us; in love, he didn’t let us go astray completely; instead, he intervened into our lives and guided us so that we may be really sober about our life and the world; he wrestled with us to break us down. He sent his servants to teach us his word and show us his love and his way. He embraced us while we were still ugly, smelly and sinful, and accepted us as his own. Since then, he has been washing our smelly feet continually, bearing our weaknesses, character flaws, and sin problems. That’s why we are here today. When we look back what he has done for us, and how he has loved us despite our smelly and ugly sins, we are only amazed in thanks. Now Jesus wants us to love our brothers and sisters in Jesus in the same way – “as he has loved us.”


          Again, “Love one another” is not a suggestion or opinion, but a command. It means that love he talks about is not some emotional feelings, but something that requires our efforts, struggles and obedience; simply, it is different from love the world talks about. They say, “I fall in love with you at a first sight.” But it is not love but their wholehearted struggle to gratify their own desires – often, it is very destructive. Love Jesus talks about is godly love, and it is very practical and sacrificial. The one we have to love is most likely not lovely in words and actions. He may have terrible character flaws, very irksome, maybe, too hot tempered. Or that person may be too proud. Maybe, that person does not do his basic duties such as cleaning the room or taking care of his smelly socks in the common life. Or even that person gives you hard time, making you depressed and sorrowful or even angry. How can we love that person? It requires real efforts and struggles of denying ourselves and practically doing something for that person. It is not natural for us to love others when we are so selfish and self-centered. But amazingly, when we struggle to love each other, God helps.


          There was someone I could not love. He was my senior and I had to obey him and love him. But he was too different from me and gave me really hard time. I died many times and experienced resurrection many times with the word of God. Then, one day, when I reached my limit, I went to God in prayer, and said, “Lord, I am dying. Help me.” Then, God showed me that if I loved him, everything would be okay. So, I said to God, “I know. But how can I love him when he is not lovely and he is so different.” In my eyes, it was impossible for me to love him. Then, suddenly, as I was praying, a vision started in my mind like a movie. God showed me how I could love him. When he was about to serve the message, then I would go to him and fix his tie, comforting him and showing myself to stand on his side. Or sometimes, as he was going to serve the message, I would go to him, and checking out his tie, I would take off my tie, and put it on him, saying, “Mine looks brighter. Take this.” When I found any good restaurant, I would invite him there and eat together. When he was going to a mission trip, early morning I would visit his house and take him to LA Airport. When he was coming back, I would go to LA airport and pick him up, carrying his baggage, and saying, “How was your trip?” What God showed me about how to love him was very practical, and amazingly, as the vision was going on in my mind, I sensed that love was growing in me. Then, in my vision, I invited him to my house for dinner, and while dinner was going on, I brought in a basin with water in it. Coming to him, I knelt down and tried to wash his feet. Then, in my vision, he was surprised, and embarrassed, and said to me, “No, I will wash your feet.” But I said to him, “Please, this time, let me wash your feet.” I pleaded with him so earnestly that he allowed me to wash his feet. Then, as I was washing his feet, rubbing them gently and sprinkling water on them, love for him welled up in my heart. I said to him, “I am sorry for not coworking with you well. Please forgive me.” While I was saying so, I that was in the vision was crying. Then, he said to me, “No, it was my fault. Please forgive me.” And he also was crying. While this vision was going on, I was also crying. While I was praying, I realized that I really loved him. Amazingly, love was in me, in my heart, and it was real, almost touchable. Before, I thought that love was conceptual, an abstract term. But no! It was not conceptual but real. I could say to the world that there was love in my heart, and it was for him. When love was born in my heart, everything changed. Suddenly, he looked so noble, so beautiful and lovely, a great man of God who had committed himself fully to God and served God’s mission losing everything in the world – such a noble man of God. I could see that I was so blessed to have this privilege of having life together with him. Then, a desire for him to be honored and respected and loved filled my heart. When he went to other country, people would flock to the airport to see him and hear his words. As he served the message, all people would listen to him carefully. He had had a kind of political mindset like the apostles who wanted to be the top disciple and become the prime minister in the messianic kingdom. I disliked that kind of political mindset. But now, I really hoped that whatever he had desired, might be granted, and I could pray for that. I want him to be exalted so that he can be happy. My heart’s desire was to make him happy. I happily called him “my father.” Later, when I shared this experience with Mother Barry, immediately she said, “That is the fruit of the Spirit.” Then, I understood that the expression, “fruit” is really proper. The fruit of love was born.


          Jesus’ command for us is: Love one another, as I have loved you. Now we have to love one another. Then, how? By washing one another’s feet! By bearing one another’s weaknesses and character flaws. When we strive to take care of other’s weaknesses in that way, love will be born in us, and we will be really happy. When love is there in us, no character flaws or weaknesses of our brothers and sisters will bother us any longer. Instead, all of our brothers and sisters will look so beautiful, noble and glorious, whose lives and hearts are fully dedicated to God. And we will be glad to know them and have this chance to enjoy life together with them. We will know that we are really blessed and that God’s grace is abundant in our lives.


          Look at verse 35 one more time. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” When the disciples deeply acknowledge Jesus’ love upon them and thus deeply love one another as Jesus has loved them, all men will know that they are Jesus’ disciples. In other words, all men will know that their love came from Jesus, their master, and that they are simply copying Jesus’ love as his disciples. They will be distinguished from all others in the world because of this bond of love among them. This kind of bond of love is not found in the world at all, but only in the community of the disciples of Jesus, whose hearts and lives are completely dedicated to him. Many people hope that their home may be the place of love where they can find rest; but often, instead of rest and happiness, wars go on – between husband and wife, between parents and children, and among children – so they don’t want to come home. Schools are the place where the principle of the survival of the fittest rules – there is tension, jealousy and competition. Then, when these weary and burdened people come to church and see the bond of love among the disciples, they are very impressed and touched; they can open their hearts to Jesus Christ. Here, we see that love among the disciples is one of the main forces of world evangelism – a key to successful disciple making ministry. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


          Look at verse 36. Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter was so disturbed by Jesus’ words that where he was going, they could not follow. Jesus assured him that even though they could not follow him then, they would follow him later. At this, Peter was hurt; it seemed that Jesus was not recognizing his loyalty. So, Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” Peter really wanted to follow Jesus. And for certain, he thought he was ready to die for Jesus. But Jesus didn’t accept his confession of love based on his own self-confidence. Such self-confidence will be broken to pieces in the spiritual realm. In less than a few hours, even before the night passed by, Peter would disown Jesus three times so as to secure his own life. But Jesus’ love for him would be the same, and Peter would come to really know his love for him.


One Word: Jesus Commands Us: Love One Another As I Have Loved You