19 Sept 2021
John spoke of the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. Note that the glorification of the Father and the glorification of the Son – the two are tied together – these take place at the cross where the Father and the Son stoop so low to save humankind and to inaugurate a new covenant that leads on to the recreation of a new humanity with Christ as the head, and as the second Adam. God’s moment of supreme triumph is achieved at the cross – there Satan was defeated, the guilt, power of sin, and death were eliminated and God undoes all of humankind’s sin and reverses the consequences of the Fall. This is the point of ‘glory’ and the ‘hour’ that the whole Gospel has been anticipating. It can really be fully understood and appreciated by taking an eternal perspective: wretched sinful men and women who by faith are regenerated by the Holy Spirit are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and adopted as God’s children; the process of transforming these sinful individuals and community into the blameless, spotless bride of Christ begins, and at the consummation, even the angels and the spiritual realm would marvel at the wisdom, power and love of God that such an impossible task has been accomplished by the Triune God! Hence all glory and praise to the living Triune God in heaven and on earth and under the earth!
Jesus spoke of a new commandment given to His disciples. It is a commandment to love just as Jesus has loved them – note the highest degree of measurement of this love – to love just as the Son of Man has loved. It is a new commandment as it is tied to the new covenant in Him. Here is a hint of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be shared by Apostle John in subsequent chapters: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord; I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their mind,” (Hebrews 10:16). When the Holy Spirit comes, He will live in the believers and in that sense the laws of God will be written on their hearts and minds. It is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that by the Spirit, the believers shall fulfil the requirement of the Law. This new commandment will progressively be true in the lives of genuine disciples but the perfection of this command would only be so when Christ comes again. But even here on earth, the obedience to this commandment in various measures speaks volumes of the reality and quality of discipleship among God’s people. But when we speak of the love of God, we must remember that just as God loves, God also hates (i.e. He hates evil). Hence Christ has to come to defeat evil and evil men and women would face judgement and condemnation. If we love God, we must also hate evil. The new covenant no longer needs the physical temple – Jesus is the new temple of God. We, as believers, individually, and corporately are God’s temple. The temple must be holy – not only is the temple to be kept and preserved holy (vivification) – the temple must also be rid of evil and unholiness (mortification of sin)
How do we differentiate the failure of Peter in denying Christ from that of the betrayal of Judas Iscariot? In the earlier part of chapter 13, Jesus said to Peter, “…If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”..Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not all of you. For He knew who was to betray Him, that was why He said, “Not all of you are clean.” From these statements, we know that the implication is that Judas was not born again and he was not clean – he has no part with Jesus. On the other hand, Peter, with the rest are said to be clean and they therefore are born again and have a part with Jesus.
Here we are reminded that even in the churches, there are wheat and tares. There are those who may appear sincere in service and apparently spiritual but are in reality tares and not real disciples of Christ. The Lord HImself spoke of this and there would be the day when God will remove the tares from the wheat and remove the goats from the sheep. In the meantime, so-called ‘spiritual knowledge’,and ‘spiritual activities’ do not guarantee that we are born again and are pleasing to God. Remember that Judas was named as one of the twelve and was close to the Lord Jesus and he also participated in all that the other disciples participated in.
Peter’s failure stems from ‘impulsiveness’ and a lack of understanding of his own spiritual standing – it is based on ‘feelings’ and being outspoken. The Lord told him that Satan has demanded to ‘sift him’ and the Lord has prayed for him. This points to the need to be aware of spiritual warfare and the presence of a powerful enemy. It calls for spiritual vigilance, humility and total dependence on the Lord and the Spirit to overcome the enemy. Peter failed, but he was a child of God and the Lord can see his heart, and He prayed for him to turn back and to continue to fulfil his calling to feed God’s sheep. God would discipline His children and the discipline can be very grievous, as when Israel was deported to Babylon and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. But God disciplines in His love and this is directed at His children; those who follow the prince of darkness and persist in evil and sin would however be dealt with severely in God’s judgement.