We come to Jesus’ pre crucifixion message. In this message Jesus talks about:
How he and God glorify one another
How he is going to a place they cannot go,
Gives the new commandment to love one another.
It may seem like three different points, but they are about one thing- Relationship. Jesus and God’s relationship, Jesus and the disciples relationship, and the disciples relationships with each other.
Jesus has lived to glorify God, and God has glorified Jesus. Their relationship is whole and complete.
Jesus needs the disciples to understand that he is leaving them and though they may want to go with him, they cannot. What did Jesus mean? Was it his crucifixion? Or his going to heaven (Ascension)? The location of this reading suggests it can be connected to his ascension.
Imagine what it meant though at this time. We know the disciples were prepared to die with Jesus. In John 11, when Jesus talks about going to heal Lazarus even though they knew the Jews wanted to kill Jesus, Thomas said to the other disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’ (John 11:16) In Matthew 26:35 Peter says, ‘Even if I have to die with you I will not deny you.’ If they understood what he meant, it must have hurt that Jesus would suggest such a thing.
Jesus needs them to remember only one thing, that though their relationship with him has changed, they need to stay in relationship with each other. He doesn’t say, ‘Don’t argue,’ or ‘talk nicely to each other.’ Jesus knows that will happen if they remember to do one thing, love.
Jesus’ request goes further than the relationship of the disciples. This love is to be a sign for those outside their group. In fact it is this love that will bring so many to God.
To truly live as God intended needs only for us to love. Jesus loved so much he died for us. How much do we love each other?