Commandment

The atmosphere in the upper room seemed to clear when Judas closed the door behind him.
A note sounding almost like hope appeared in Jesus’ voice. The men were glad to hear it.

“Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”

It seemed another line had been crossed and a mission was on the verge of completion.

“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me
… ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’

Just as their spirits began to rise, these words sent them crashing to the floor. Jesus was smiling broadly now as if He had something wonderful to tell them.

“…so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Now there were eleven.
They had struggled all their lives to keep the ten commandments and now there would be eleven of them. They could not share His smile. “Love one another?” This was not very specific. They could see no reason for such a smile and, to a man, declined to join Him in it.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Could this 11th commandment actually make things simpler? Obviously the world would be a better place if people obeyed this commandment, but that was obviously impossible. This 11th commandment—love one another—will be the mark of the follower of Messiah? How could this be? People would still be like they always were. The powerful would do whatever it took to hold on to power. The poor would still be poor. If Jesus weren’t there to heal them, the sick and disabled would still be sick and disabled. Worst of all, the Romans would still be the Romans. How would affection for each other change the world? Panic began to set in among them. Peter voiced their united question.

“Lord, where are You going?”

Following Jesus
There was no place for Him to go, not in this world at least. Rome ruled the whole world; there was no escape. Jesus turned to look into Peter’s eyes. It seemed to the fisherman that another line was about to be crossed.

“Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”

Peter objected to this discouraging prophecy.

“Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”

It was more than a boast. It was deepest desire of Peter’s heart and Jesus knew this. Standing face to face, man to man, Jesus asked a life-changing question.

“Will you lay down your life for My sake?”

No one spoke as the air in the upper room thickened. The supply of oxygen was suddenly insufficient. Peter swallowed hard and straightened his shoulders as if to answer this question with the force of his will. Jesus placed his hand on the stiffened shoulder of His friend and spoke quietly.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”

Peter was stunned and embarrassed. How did He know? He knew everything. Jesus gathered the Eleven around the table to hear the most important talk He had ever presented to them.

Scriptures:
John 13:31-35

So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus help me live the 11th commandment! To love You and Your people without reservation. To give myself to Your service, to Your church and Kingdom. Any talents I may have came from You. I want to return them to You as skills You can use to build Your Kingdom. I want to please You in all things. I want to be known as a believer in You and a follower of You and Please Lord, make the evidence of this by my love for others.
Amen.

Song:
Old Time Religion
Traditional

Give me that old time religion,
Give me that old time religion,
Give me that old time religion,
It’s good enough for me.

Makes me love ev’ry body,
Makes me love ev’ry body,
Makes me love ev’ry body,
It’s good enough for me.

Give me that old time religion,
Give me that old time religion,
Give me that old time religion,
It’s good enough for me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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