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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4-7-11 John 13:33-38 Meaningful Love

33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.  34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

(Peter crucified upside down, Michelangelo)

Thoughts: Jesus was thinking about two things- death and love.  Jesus speaks here of his death and Peter's too (he "will follow later").  Peter says he will lay down his life- but he is not ready to do so when Christ was arrested and all others were scattered.  Tradition says Peter died during Nero's persecution in Rome about 67 AD, and that he was crucified upside down.  Jesus reaction to thinking about his death was to think about what He will leave behind.  He wants them (and us) to love one another as He loved us. In the face of the most meaningless thing in life (death)- we are called to do the most meaningful thing (love one another).  The love Jesus speaks of is not the surfacey-sex that the world elevates, but real human love.  For Jesus the last and most important thing is real true love for others- especially those of the household of faith. .

Prayer: Give me grace to love others as you have loved me.

John Calvin Abridged: Christ restrains Peter's excessive desire here.  We are taught by this passage to subject all our excessive desires to our Lord.  Peter was not yet ripe for bearing the cross.  But as a blade of corn must be shaped and get stronger, so Peter needs to be shaped adn formed by time.  As Jesus bears with Peter, so we should learn to be patient with the weaker brethren. 

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