John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
1.Love is one of the key terms in chapters 13--17 in the book of John, occurring thirty-one times in these five chapters as compared to only six times in chapters 1--12.
2. Be of good cheer/courage derives from the Greek word Tharseo. It means to be of both good cheer and good courage. This is why some translations say cheer and some say courage. Really it means to be courageous and cheerful at the same time.
Let’s get to the heart of the lesson: John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13, 14, & 15 is focusing on loving and serving as Jesus did.
Why is this important? We find out in the very next verse. Verse 35: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
3. Let’s also take a look at why this command is so important to us. (Aside from having a personal relationship with the Lord, what is our main objective as a Church body? To go out and share the gospel with others & to build up, teach and edify each other right?) Let me share with you some comments from the website De-Conversion.com (they just changed their website since I put the study together and I can't locate the list now at a quick glance.) on why people do not believe the gospel. 15. If there is an infinite almighty all loving Creator who has one single, simple message to impart to us, why is he so spectacularly ineffective at doing so? 3. Christians are NOT different from non-Christians. 4. Church disunity. You see, Jesus knew we were going to need credibility to be able to effectively preach the gospel. He knew people were going to want to see Christians different from non Christians because our gospel says we will be different. He knew we would need to be unified by love and reflecting Christ's love through us so that all men would be able to recognize we were followers of Christ. Kind of makes this command a little more weighty to know that the salvation of souls lay in our reflecting Christ's love, doesn't it?
Scripturally, let's look at the importance of this command also.
John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. In John 13 & 14 the only command Jesus is talking about is to love others as he has loved us. Sounds like this command is pretty important to Jesus to me! It also effects our personal relationship too!
Imagine for a moment how this might play out. Imagine how it would affect you if just about everyone you came into contact with loved you like Jesus would love you. Imagine how you would be positively changed if the people in your home loved you like Jesus would love you. Can you imagine how much more positive and loving we would then become and how different things could be? Imagine how the world would change if all Christians were to immediately commit to living a Christ like love and how that would impact non Christians and how they view us and the gospel we preach. Imagine the millions of lives that could be saved just by seeing Christ’s love play out so richly in our lives.
Can we understand the real impact of what Jesus is saying here? Do we really understand how important it is to obey what Jesus is saying?
In speaking about the Holy Spirit who was yet to come Jesus says: John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jesus in chapter 15 is speaking about the Holy Spirit and coming persecution. This is crucial too because to receive this peace we must remain in Him. To remain in Him we must do what?
John 15: 9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” What is the sum of the commandments given? Just what commandments is Jesus talking about? So far, the only thing Jesus is talking about in the chapters is the command to love. But, lest someone say Jesus is referring to the 10 commandments also, let's look at what Jesus says the sum of the 10 commandments are.
4. Matthew 22: 37-40 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." So, even if we want to argue that when Jesus says we are to keep His commandments to abide in His love that this is not just the command in John 13:34 to love others as He has loved us but also the 10 commandments we can see now that even those are summed up by loving. Loving God and loving others.......We cannot escape the fact that Jesus is talking about loving others as He has loved us being key to abiding in Jesus's love. I love this verse in Galations 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. LOVE it! pun intended.
It is critical to note that we are not to love as we see fit or as by what we know love to be, but we are to love as Christ loved us. So what is Love anyway as defined by the Bible? Let’s take a look.
1 Corinthians 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The Commandment begins in John 13:34 and still in John 15 Jesus continues to repeat it again and again throughout the 3 chapters! This is the last lesson he taught the disciples before he was betrayed by Judas and it seems to me that Jesus took the time to really let us know how much this command meant to Him.
John 15: 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
John 15: 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
John 15: 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
So now we know what the Bible defines love to be we need look at how Jesus displayed these traits toward us. Let’s look at how we can display a Christ like love by looking at how Jesus loved us. What would Jesus really do? I highly encourage you to read all four gospels specifically from the starting point where Jesus begins His ministry and ask God to show you all the ways Jesus showed His love for us as you read.
So, What Would Jesus Do?
Wife Swap Scenario: If Jesus and I swapped places for a period of time and Jesus took my place within my family how might Jesus do things differently? How would Jesus love/interact with my husband? Would Jesus change anything about my routine so that I could love not only Him better but also my family? And, if needed and Jesus had to gently “encourage” my husband to do his fair share around the home would my husband accuse even Jesus of nagging? (hee hee) How would Jesus love/interact with my children? How would Jesus love/interact with my parents/siblings? Would he fight with them? ‘Cause you know how annoying family can be. Would my family get on Jesus’ nerves and cause him to have mini meltdowns? What might Jesus do in my home differently as He displayed His Christ like love? And, if I displayed this Christ like love do I think it would catch on? How would my life be impacted by receiving Christ like love from my family members?
Let’s look at these same thoughts for work & places we spend a good deal of time at like Church. How would Jesus conduct himself if He took my place at these other places also?
I just want to share what the Life Application Bible says about Joy. “Joy is a common theme in Christ’s teachings- he wants us to be joyful (see John 15:11; John 16:24, John 16:33). The key to immeasurable joy is living in intimate contact with Christ, the source of all joy. When we do, we will experience God’s special care and protection and see the victory God brings even when defeat seems certain.” We can learn from this lesson that one of the keys to abiding in Christ’s love is to display that love to everyone around us.
I had a really great time putting this study together. It really made me understand the full weight of the command Jesus gives in John 13:34 and it has made me really look at how I interact with others, especially my family. We will say things to our family members that we would not dream of saying to others, right? I feel highly encouraged that we as Christians can be obedient to this command and oh my, what a wonderful world this would be if we all committed to doing it!