April 24, 2016
Introduction: In their book, Lead Like Jesus, Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges state that after Jesus goes out into the wilderness to reflect on his call from God he comes to call the disciples and does so through forming a personal bond between them and himself. In the Gospel of John this bond of love is made into a commandment by Jesus which is later used as the term for Maundy (command) Thursday. As his disciples we are commanded to love each other. How do we do this? What exactly does Jesus mean when he uses the term ‘love’? Is he talking about some emotion, or is he talking about something far more profound? We have clues in today’s Gospel passage. Jesus talks about his glory which refers to his crucifixion, death and rising to new life. This sacrificial act is at the heart of his call to us.
I) Judas has just gone out to betray Jesus. This act of betrayal is not only against Jesus but also an act of hate against his fellow disciples. Yet Jesus does not linger over what has just occurred, instead he focuses on the remaining 11 and their mission. He is all too well aware that he will soon be put to death and that his disciples will be left without their leader. So he calls them little children as a father might do to his own children on his death bed.
II) As he tries to warn them of what is about to happen, they seem unable to understand just what is about to take place. Peter even asks Jesus after Jesus tells them that they cannot follow him any longer, just where is he going? After all he will follow him no matter what! Jesus ends up warning Peter that even before the cock will crow early that morning he will betray his master three times. Of course not only will Peter betray Jesus but the rest of the disciples will run away and hide out of fear. Only the beloved disciples, his mother, and perhaps a few other women will stay by his side during his agonizing death on the cross.
III) Jesus’ example of love on the cross would ultimately help the disciples understand just what he meant by his statement that they are to love each other. We too are called to love each other sacrificially. This should not be taken nostalgically, instead we ought to examine just what does it mean to truly care for others so much we are willing to do something that demands our willingness to give all we have in order to serve a fellow disciple. What does that mean here at St. Michael’s? Certainly we have sacrificed for each other! Getting up early and serving breakfast. Bringing a hot meal over to someone who is in need. Helping purchase an organ for those who enjoy music.