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John 13:31-35

The Fifth Sunday of Easter

The risen and glorified Christ prepares his followers for his visible departure by giving a new command: love one another!

Having come from God and now preparing to return to God, Jesus gives his disciples the command to love
one another. Disciples of Jesus are marked by their love for each other. For it is a reflection of the same love
our now glorified Savior has for us. (This lesson can be closely linked with next week’s Gospel lesson, where
“love” is expressed through obedience to Jesus’ teaching.)

John 13:31
Ὅτε οὖν ἐξῆλθεν, λέγει Ἰησοῦς, Νῦν ἐδοξάσθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἐδοξάσθη ἐν αὐτῷ·

“Then, when he went out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God is glorified in him.”


ἐδοξάσθη – Aorist passive indicative 3rd singular, “is glorified.” To be glorified is to be given a high status in the eyes of
another. Jesus has earned this glory by his constant perfect conformity to the will of the Father. Conversely, the
Father receives glory through the Son because of his obedience, because of his teaching which brings souls to salvation
and because his sacrifice would atone for the world’s sins, fulfilling the Father’s plan of salvation.


On the night that Jesus was betrayed, Judas left the room to do what he had intended to do, hand the Son of Man over
to sinners. The fact that Jesus here uses the term, “Son of Man” is quite significant. His humanity would certainly be
on display during the night hours and into Good Friday. The term, though, hearkens back to the fact that he is a
prophet, one who was sent from above to achieve for mankind forgiveness and everlasting life. In that work, the Son of
Man is glorified, because man cannot by his own reason or doing come to God, know God or come into his glorious
presence. It is only through the Son, Jesus. Also, because the Son is glorified, due to his work as the world’s messiah,
the Father is glorified, because he does this work as the world’s Messiah by the commission of the Father who created
the world, guided its direction and protected it so that Jesus could save it by his blood. When the Son of Man is
glorified, the Father is glorified. And even though, on this night and the next day, Jesus would suffer the greatest
humiliation as the bearer of the world’s sin, he is glorious in his humiliating work, he is glorified when the humiliating
work is over. He is glorified for all eternity by those who look to him for salvation. And though him, glory is given to
the Father, who sent him full of grace and truth.

John 13:32
[εἰ ὁ θεὸς ἐδοξάσθη ἐν αὐτῷ,] καὶ ὁ θεὸς δοξάσει αὐτὸν ἐν αὐτῷ, καὶ εὐθὺς δοξάσει αὐτόν.

“[If God is glorified in him], and God will glorify him in him, and he will glorify him immediately.”

No difficult vocabulary.


The first part of this verse is not included among the earliest manuscripts. UBS4 lists it as {C}. Even with that part
aside we begin to understand the chief meaning here. Jesus is preparing his disciples for the tribulation ahead which
they would see, experience and witness with their hearts and eyes. The first step of Jesus’ glorification was complete.
He had fully comforted to the will of the Father in every way, and through miracles made himself known to the people.
Now he points his disciples to a future glory, one that would shortly follow his arrest, his beating, his crucifixion and
death...the resurrection! The tone of immediacy shows that the night of death would not last long, but would be
swallowed up by the brightness of the light of life on resurrection day. The resurrection of Jesus gives glory to the
Father – because the salvation of mankind and the conquering of death so that all may have life, these are all things
which glorify the Father by being extended to the creation he loves. And of note – the relationship between the Father
and the Son is so close and intimate that when one is glorified, so is the other. When the Son is glorified, the Father is
glorified. When the Son achieves glory and extends that to those of faith by grace, it glorifies the Father as well. For “I
and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

John 13:33
τεκνία, ἔτι μικρὸν μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰμι· ζητήσετέ με, καὶ καθὼς εἶπον τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ὅτι Ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω ὑμεῖς οὐ δύνασθε
ἐλθεῖν, καὶ ὑμῖν λέγω ἄρτι. 

“Children, still a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, “Where I go you will not be
able to come,” so also I say this now to you.”


No difficult vocabulary


Jesus addresses his disciples with a tender name, “children.” He is making it known to the disciples of the time frame
involved here. “A little while...” implies having a sense of urgency in their relationship with Jesus, and understanding
that their work would have to continue even after Jesus’ work had been completed. Even though they would not be
able to immediately follow Jesus where he was going, they are to take comfort that the work of gospel ministry would
continue, and that by fervent love for one another, they would be able to encourage one another to love and good
works until the Lord Jesus draws them to glory in heaven. Up to this point, the message had been to “follow me.” Now,
they could not follow Jesus immediately to the cross and grave and burst forth victorious. The first-fruits of those
fallen asleep needed to accomplish his work. So now, the command has a paradigm shift. They were to continue to
follow Jesus in faith by following his new command to love each other.

John 13:34
ἐντολὴν καινὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν, ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους, καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους.

“A new command I am giving to you, that you love one another, just as I loved you – so also you love one another.”


No difficult vocabulary

Jesus would continue to be glorified by his disciples in a specific manner – loving each other in the pattern that he has
loved them. Truly, none of them could ever love to the extent and in the perfection that Jesus loved his sheep.
Nonetheless, the paradigm is clear – love each other with the eternal interests of each other in mind. Here, Jesus is
specifically talking about our relationship with fellow Christians. Many times before, Jesus had spoken about loving
our fellow man, but up to this point, it had not been addressed for fellow Christians to love one another. Such love
would be willing to endanger one’s own life for the sake of the salvation of another. This really isn’t a “new” command
in the proper sense. It is “new” to them in that they had not heard this specific application of the second table of the
law. This attitude to love one another is important for fellow Christians, because their mutual sharing in the means of
grace helps to build each other up, instead of embracing a worldly pattern of self-aggrandizement that tears other
people down and destroys relationships.

John 13:35
ἐν τούτῳ γνώσονται πάντες ὅτι ἐμοὶ μαθηταί ἐστε, ἐὰν ἀγάπην ἔχητε ἐν ἀλλήλοις.  
“In this, all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Γνώσονται – Future Middle Indicative 3rd plural – part of the apodasis of a Future More Vivid statement, “If you have
love for one another, then they will know...” This knowledge is the experiential knowledge that comes from
observance. They know a truth because of something they see or experience.


This command was given on the night that Jesus was betrayed, on a night when people recognized Peter as one of Jesus’
disciples. Before that night, the way that they were recognized as Jesus’ disciples was that they were with Jesus, they
followed him, they were seen with him. The time was coming when they would no longer be seen with Jesus. How
would others know that they were Christians? Not by observing their company, but by observing their behavior – a
behavior of unconditional and uncompromising love and concern for the eternal welfare of another. Shame on
Christian brothers and sisters when they cause others to question their connection to Jesus because of their anger and
hatred towards a fellow Christian. Far be it from us to determine who is worthy of love and who isn’t. None of us are
worthy of Christ’s love, and yet he did the most loving thing possible, saving us from sin and death and the devil and
giving us life and immortality through the gospel. Therefore all Christian brothers and sisters, made righteous by the
blood of Christ, sanctified by his Spirit and called to be his witnesses are worthy of loving concern for their eternal
welfare. And when we exhibit Christ-like love, our Savior is given glory, the Father is given glory, and others will know
that we are his disciples. Others includes our fellow brothers and sisters. Let there be no question to whom we belong.
Let our voices be heard and our lives be evident that we are sheep of the Good Shepherd, evident to other outside the
Church (so that they have testimony of our faith), but especially that our fellow Christians may know and be confident
of our calling in the True Faith.