Photo. Through Richard Blick, Pacific Coast light house, 2011
IX. The Sermon: The Final Apologetic. John 13:31-38 – Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church
Intro. This passage is a radical departure from the “might makes right” ethos of Rome and our world.
The Big Idea: Facing his hour, Jesus commands a universal apologetic for those who are truly his followers.
I. A glorious death (vv. 31-33).
Daniel 7 prophecizes centuries earlier that this Son of Man is to come. The desciples see this as the king who comes to “clean house”. However, they do not see it as triumphant in his death the way that Jesus means. The kind of glory that Jesus is talking about will come through his death and IN his death.
II. No hesitation (v. 34).
The only one to give commandments in all of scripture is God. That is why it is huge the way that John tells us that Jesus says he has a new commandment for us – to love one another. Why is Jesus giving commandments when only God can? John is showing us that Jesus IS God.
III. Embrace the authenticity of a radical discontinuity (v. 34-36).
If you love one another, by this all people will know you are my desciples, Jesus says. So how is it that the people of the world will see the authenticity of the gospel message? Through the love of his follows for one another. In addition to this, it is not just so that the world will know Christianity is true, but it is so that WE will know its true too!
1 John 4:7-8. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. Great assurance of our own salvation is through the means the holy spirit uses of us loving others. This, however, is impossible! Jesus’ qualifier on HOW we are to love one another is HOW he loved us, including laying his life down for us.
Radical discontinuity: this type of life is not how the world works nor how the Roman society opperated under “might makes right.” In our culture it is not about who has the sword as much as who has the checkbook. Our rugged individualism of our country means that at the end of the day, we really love ourselves and those close to us more than the oppressed and / or others different than us.
In the midst of this discontinuity in our culture, how do we live today in love for one another in Fremont? Sacrificial love for others has no real witty response.
IV. Not yet (vv. 36-38).
Peter says, “Lord, why can I not follow you now?” After a year and a half of following Jesus many desciples leave and Peter says he and the 12 disciples won’t leave because they have nowhere else to go. Jesus alone has the words of life. So Peter’s question is a good one.
The irony is that Peter will deny him in a matter of hours, then be restored, then one day WILL die for Christ upside-down on a cross.
How is this cast of misfits of disciples able to love one another the way that Christ loved them? It is impossible. Paul tells us that the first fruit of the Spirit is love. They are able to do these things when they get the Spirit, a power from outside themselves.
We cannot love this way from the outside in – conformance to this new law. It is only from new hearts brought by the Holy Spirit that we can do this from the inside out. THIS IS the final apologetic.
Assurance of your salvation is as important to those who love you as for yourself. The Holy Spirit convinces us of this as we live out of this final appologetic.