Through the Word in 2020 #169 – Dec. 8 / The “New” Commandment


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There have been countless volumes written on our reading in John 13 today. Rightly so. I suppose it impossible to truly plumb the depths of what is contained in that brief narrative. And when you lay it along side Psalm 142 and David’s plea for help, Joel’s promise of God’s restorative work, Amos’ warnings about unrepentant sin and Revelation’s picture of God’s judgment – John 13:34 & 35 stand out in even more stunning relief.

We want to gaze into the nature of that love Jesus has for Believers, and what that is supposed to look like in us toward one another for just a moment today on Through the Word in 2020.

I’m Reid Ferguson.

Interestingly, Jesus uses the occasion of sending Judas out to act on his final betrayal, as the stage for announcing that “now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”

And what does that mean?

When reading texts like this it is necessary to think of the word “revealed” when we read – “glorified.” For it is the exposing of God in His fullness that is His greatest glory. And what is it that is so glorious in God that is hidden from us in creation, and is revealed so exclusively and absolutely in Christ? Grace, and mercy. God has chosen as the perfect means to reveal Himself in His grace and mercy, by the redemption of lost men, the forgiveness of their sins. The saving of those who not only do not deserve it, but do not even want it.

From the very beginning He was aiming at this.

God’s final goal in all things – is the divinely ultimate manifestation of His mercy and grace through eternal, familial society with a redeemed humanity.

His motive in it all, is love.

The Father is most glorified in or by the Son in the Cross. Because nowhere else is the righteousness of God in condemning and judging sin more revealed, nor is the mercy, love, genius and grace of God more revealed than in offering His Son as the substitutionary sacrifice sinful men need.

Offered to all, to be received by faith.

This is how Christ loved us: He made known to us, revealed to us, the mercy and grace that consumes the heart of the Triune God. And this then tells us what it means to love one another as He has loved us.

We can love others in no greater way than to make known to them the redeeming love of God in the Gospel of the Cross, and living out lives of commensurate mercy and grace. Such love is not the fallen human analog of love that is more about warm fuzzy feelings toward one another. It is about truly caring for the deepest needs of the human soul by making known to them in word and action the Christ who reveals the Father’s great love in mercy toward their guilt and grace in reconciliation and the gift of eternal life.

It is not that nothing else is loving – but that nothing else is THIS loving. This, is ultimate love. As Christ has loved us. And anything less, falls short of loving one another as HE has loved us.

Make God known in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Make Him known in the preaching of the Gospel. Make Him known by showing mercy and grace. Make Him known by living as a mercied and graced person yourself.

Love one another, as He has loved you.

God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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