Jesus gives his followers a new command, to love others as He exemplified during His time on earth. How well do you follow this command and what happens when you screw it up?
31 Therefore 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 will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 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, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men 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, “ Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37 Peter *said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right 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, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.”
As Jesus foretells His crucifixion, He also foretells the purpose of it. This is the beginning of His final instruction to the 11 disciples. As He begins, we see that it is for God’s glory that He has been called to this very moment. It is through the Son that God will be glorified and as a result, God will glorify the Son. But why will the Son be glorified? Because it is through Him that we are able to have a relationship with God. It is difficult for us to wrap our heads around Jesus being God, yet being a separate entity, isn’t it? It is because in human terms, it doesn’t make sense. How can someone be one person yet separate persons at the same time? Jesus is the interface through which we get to encounter God. An intermediary is necessary since the fall, since man fell out of relationship with God. This is the purpose of the story until now: to show that an intercessor is needed to re-establish our relationship with God.
Verse 34 can be confusing. Jesus is saying here that to be a follower of Christ is to love fellow followers and non-followers alike, just as He exemplified during His time on earth. To often we skip to verse 35 without recognizing Jesus’ call to love all just as He loves us. This theme is repeated over and over not just when Jesus was on earth, but throughout the entire bible. How often do we forget or neglect this? His command to love one another will be backed up with His follow on instruction as He will lay out some examples of what He means.
In His exchange with Peter, Jesus makes an interesting point. Regardless of our zeal for God, our love for Christ, and even our dedication to follow His instruction, we will still screw it up. Is there any indication here that Jesus loves them less for it? Does He change His mind about who will be His apostles? Not at all! That’s good news for you and me!