Sermon: The Deep Deep Love of Jesus John 13.21.38

The Deep Deep Love of Jesus

John 13.21.38

Truth Taught – Christ’s love for His people is a deep, unfailing and eternal love with this same love we are to love others.

We need to understand the depth of love Christ has for His people. He was determined to go into deep darkness to save us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that Jesus loves us and that His example is for us to follow.

John 13:21–38 (ESV)

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

  1. The Eyewitness Account

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

There are many things we could say about this portion of Scripture. Many were said last week in connection with the prophecy concerning Judas’ betrayal. We learned how Judas’ actions were in accordance with fulfilling prophetic Scripture. We also learned that when he did finally betray Jesus that the others’ faith would be stronger as they saw come to pass what Jesus said would happen.

Now I want us to focus not so much on Judas’ actions but on the fact that this Gospel, the Gospel of John is an eyewitness account.
John fills the pages with details. He can do that because he was there. He was with Jesus and the others at the last supper when Judas left to go make the final arrangements to turn Jesus over to the Jews.

John 19:35 (ESV)

35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.

John 21:24 (ESV)

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

What we must see here is that the Gospel of John is an eyewitness account. John saw these events and John wrote about them and he declares that they are absolutely true.

The Gospel of John is not fiction, not a made up story, but it is accurate reporting of real events.

John tells us from his privileged position as the disciple whom Jesus loved what was taking place.

They are all reclining at table. This is a Jewish custom of eating a meal together. There were no chairs. Everyone reclined literally placing their left elbow on the floor and eating with their right hand. John and Jesus were reclining side by side. This was not done at every meal only special meals. This posture helps us identify that they were, in fact, eating the Passover Meal together.

Jesus announces that one of His own disciples will betray Him. With that announcement they begin to wonder who it is that Jesus is referring to. Well Peter can’t take it any more and signals to John to ask Him who it is?

Jesus shows who the betrayer is as He passes the morsel to Judas.

Jesus extends to Judas one more sign of His affection as the morsel dipped and given was a sign of friendship. Yet still Judas also had a mission one he had arranged himself. There is no turning back for Judas and at this point Satan enters him to make sure he fulfills his duty to betray the Son of God.

Judas is history’s supreme story of wasted privilege and opportunity. He is also the example of what happens when we love money. Money meant more to Judas than eternal salvation. In the end, Judas didn’t sell Jesus for thirty pieces of silver but sold his soul for thirty pieces of silver…as the poet writes,

Still as of old

Men by themselves are priced—

For thirty pieces Judas sold

Himself not Christ—JC Wright

  1. Darkness Overtakes Him and Glory Shines

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.

The end of verse 30 tells us…it was night. John is not telling us what time of day it was when Judas left. He’s telling us that as Satan entered Judas and as Judas left to go and do what he desired to do, for a time, darkness will rule.
For three years the disciples followed Jesus. They walked with Him, learned from Him, watched Him live. They were followers of Jesus. They were imitators of Christ. Jesus loved them to the end.

Now, they cannot follow. They cannot go with Jesus. They cannot help or cooperate with Jesus. We are getting very close to the point when Jesus must go alone. Jesus will enter the darkness alone. His glory will be shining and He will be honoring His Father all the way. For now He goes alone to the cross and the darkness will prevail.

It is through the darkness and sin of this world that Jesus’ glorious work must take place. He will enter darkness alone in order to utterly and eternally destroy it for His people.

You cannot follow Me now is what He tells His followers. I must go it alone. Do you see the glory getting ready to cut loose in this scene? Oh it’s dark but watch what is about to happen.

The Father and the Son are most glorified when the Son’s obedience takes Him into the darkness for His Father’s glory. Salvation of sinners is way more glorious than even the universe itself. Creation cannot hold a candle to the brightness and glory of salvation of sinners.
John 13:18–19 (ESV)

18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

I want to look briefly at last week’s text. Because this lets us in on how God will be glorified through the salvation of sinners…this is just one way.
Jesus tells His disciples what Judas is going to do before he does it so that…

19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

There is no “he” in the original just I AM!!!

The Father and the Son are glorified through the process of securing eternal salvation for God’s people even working out the details of Jesus’ betrayal in eternity past.

  1. A New Commandment

34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This is much like the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel. Here’s what I mean. It has always been a godly activity to love and care for others.

Leviticus 19:18 (ESV)

18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Notice what Jesus is saying…in light of OT passages the best God could do is to say love others like you love yourself. This is good but do you see how even this comes from an inward selfish motivation. God, as it were, is saying, I know how much self love you have you should love others as much as you love yourself.

Now in Jesus’ new commandment we can see more clearly exactly what it means to love others the way God wants us to. Because of the incarnation, God literally acts out before us what He means by loving others. Jesus’ example of dying for us is exactly what God means by loving other.

Now the New Commandment is bound up in our receiving the Holy Spirit and God pouring His love into us.

Romans 5:5 (ESV)

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Galatians 5:22–24 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Because of the cross, as it concerns love, we have Jesus’ example of true sacrificial love and because of the cross we are made sons and daughters given the Holy Spirit by which God pours His love within us so that we can now love the way He does.

Ephesians 5:1–2 (ESV)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We should see that on a very vital level we must be showing love to those in our families and in our church.

Paul prayed for the early church that the people would grow in their love for each other…
1 Thessalonians 3:12 (ESV)

12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

He also commanded those in the area church around Galatia to…

Galatians 6:10 (ESV)

10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Then our Lord tells us what happens when our love for one another is increasing.

35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Those on the outside will take notice that we are truly Jesus’ disciples as we love one another. Others will know we are truly Christians. Sometimes assurance of salvation comes from those who are lost. When outsiders see our love for the brethren they understand our commitment to Christ is sincere.
This is one way we too can see our salvation is real…
1 John 3:14 (ESV)

14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

  1. Peter, You Will Know that I AM

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Jesus told the disciples that when Judas betrays Him they will know that He is I Am because He told them prior to it taking place. This is the same effect prophetic knowledge will have on Peter specifically.
Peter wants to know where Jesus is going that he cannot follow. Jesus is beginning His walk to the cross in just a few hours. Peter cannot follow because it’s not in his character to follow. Peter is not morally able to go with Jesus. He is greatly overestimating his strength and courage to follow.

37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.

Matthew records for us a little more of the boasting of Peter and the others…

Matthew 26:33–35 (ESV)

33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Peter thinks way too much of his own ability to follow Christ. If he is going to be the follower Jesus wants him to be he must realize his utter dependence on Jesus. Our Lord went to the cross alone and died alone. That is why salvation is by grace through faith alone. As we depend on our Lord and rest in His work for us then we too can be true followers.

Luke 22:54–62 (ESV)

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Application

I want us to see that in Jesus Christ’s going into darkness and suffering death for us that God’s love for us is revealed. If He loves us enough to literally go through hell to save us then we can be assured the same love will keep us for all eternity.
Romans 8:31–39 (ESV)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s love for His people is beyond measure. God’s love is eternal. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
When Peter denied Jesus three times right in the middle of Jesus’ time of suffering and darkness, even that did not separate Peter from Jesus’ love for him.

I’m so glad that Peter’s three denials were not the end of the story…
John 21:15–19 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Christ’s love for His people is a deep, unfailing and eternal love with this love we too are to love others.

 

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