It has been said many times in many ways that the Bible is a book about love. In this chapter, we see that love is what Jesus wanted us to focus on from the beginning.
The place that really stood out to me as an expression of love was verse 21. In this verse it says that Jesus became visibly upset about Judas' betrayal. I think He became so upset for two reasons: one because betrayal always hurts. Judas was close to Jesus, had seen the miracles and experienced first-hand the love that Jesus poured out to His disciples, and yet, Judas still chose to betray Him.
The other, possibly more important reason is because He knew where Judas was going. In this same chapter, Jesus also reveals Peter's betrayal. This also must have hurt, but only when talking of Judas' betrayal does it say that Jesus became visibly upset. It was important that Jesus was more upset by Judas betraying Him than Peter. I believe this is because Jesus knew where both of them were headed. Peter eventually repented and came back to Jesus, Judas never did this. Judas' betrayal led to his soul being lost forever. This shows the unconditional love of our Lord. Yes, He cared that Judas was going to betray Him but more than that, He was visibly upset over the loss of Judas' soul.
Jesus sums up the importance of this chapter in verse 34. He says to love each other as He has loved us, not as we love ourselves, but as He loved us. This means that our love for one another is our focus, and not just a love for each other in this world but a love for each others' souls. So many times I have been afraid to share the truth of God's love with a friend because I fear that friend's opinion of me, I fear the persecution and I fear the loss of that friendship. The problem is not just my fear, it's the fact that I focus on my love for myself over my love for my friend. If we truly love others the way Jesus loves us, we won't be focused on those fears that hold us back, we will only be focused on our love for that person and how sad it would be to not spend eternity with them, how sad it would be for them to never know the love of Jesus. We should become visibly upset when we think of those around us who are missing the point, who are in so much pain and are headed to an eternity of more pain. When we love each other on this level, when we focus on our love for each other in this way, and more importantly when we love God on this level, everything else will fall into place.
It seems so simple that we only need to focus on this one thing. This must be why Jesus got so frustrated so much of the time. I think as Christians we fall so easily into trying to figure out God's plan for our lives. Our intentions are good but we forget that He told us in black and white as clear as day, above all else we are to love Him and others. If we are completely focused on that, He will keep us on course.
About the Author:
Sat, April 21, 2012
by Leah Highsmith