Day 45: John 13:21-38

John 13 is a literary sandwich of love and betrayal:

  1. A) Jesus demonstrates how the disciples ought to love one another by washing their feet.
  2. B) Jesus anticipates the betrayal of Judas and sends him out to carry out his treachery.
  3. A) Jesus commands the disciples: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
  4. B) Jesus anticipates Peter’s betrayal.

The picture painted is of love given without being earned. Jesus loved both Judas and Peter so much that he washed their feet, although he knew they would betray him. This love is instructive for us, the recipients of Jesus’s command to love one another “just as he has loved us.”

John says earlier in the chapter that Jesus loved his disciples “to the end.” Even when they were shortsighted. Even when they were impatient. Even when they were foolish and proud. Even when they betrayed and denied him, Jesus loved them to the end. And this is the type of love Jesus tells us we ought to have for one another.

And so when others are anything-but-loving to you, how do you respond? When someone insults you, gossips about you, hurts you, or ignores you, how do you react? If you’re anything like me, any of those offenses are grounds for treating the other person badly in return!

And yet Jesus teaches us that our treatment of others should not be based on how we feel about the offender, but how Jesus feels about him. And John shows us in chapter 13 that Jesus “loved them to the end.” How much more, then, ought we love one another, who also need to be loved “to the end”? 

Prayer: Father, remind us of the heart of Jesus in our moments of anger at others. Remind us of how much more we are loved than we deserve. Teach us to give love to one another out of the love you have shown to us.