“Why does He keep saying that?”
That is the question I imagine the disciples pondering as Jesus continues to respond to their questions, “Where I am going you cannot follow.” But what does that mean? And really, why does He keep saying it? Well, Jesus probably meant two things in saying whichever version of that phrase we find in John…
First, it could be speaking to the death and payment for sin that was just a short time away for Him. They couldn’t follow, they couldn’t bear the wrath of God, they couldn’t experience the torment and torture of HIS cross, even if they would one day bear their very own. Second, He could be hinting at the fact that He would soon be seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, where He will prepare a place for all of His followers. Either way, context supports both, so maybe both are true depending on the moment.
“Why does He keep talking about love?”
That is the other question I imagine the disciples kicking around at their nightly campfire. He mentions love so often in His teaching and rebukes. Why? You could look at 1 Corinthians 13 or a variety of other places to understand the preeminence of love, but this passage offers us enough for the day. Jesus tells us in John 13:34-35, “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.” I also have two suggestions for us on this one.
First, He talks about love as a reminder of what He accomplishes for us at the cross: reuniting man with His Creator. We deserved Hell, we get God, plain and simple. And this is only possible because of love. Second, He knows that the world will not be won by politics or empty religion or stale attempts at social justice. It will be won by love. It is the supreme ethic and it changes everything.
What did God teach you today? Has the Gospel of John encouraged you to follow Him closely? Do you love God and are you loving those around you?
By: Todd Thomas