The Berean Expositor
Volume 49 - Page 132 of 179
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Chapter 13:
pp. 230 - 233
This chapter (13:) and the next six (14:-19:) cover what must have seemed for our
Lord the longest and most cruelly exacting day in His earthly life. The very first verse
underlines the all important and sublime message Christ was to enjoin on His disciples
and indeed on all His followers, namely that they "love one another". Our Lord's
example in this attitude is proclaimed from the start:
". . . . . when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world
unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the
end" (13: 1).
The word for love agape as a noun and in verbal form is used by John in his Gospel
and epistles over 70 times which is some indication of the importance accorded to it by
the Holy Spirit. The ascended Christ later amplified His teaching to His disciples (e.g.
Acts 24: 27) and included instruction on love to Paul, who recorded it in I Cor. 13::
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong
or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and
all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am
nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but hat not love,
I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; is not arrogant
or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not
rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes
all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (I Cor. 13: 1-8, R.S.V.).
We need to ponder well verse 2. Some with the help of the Holy Spirit may rise to
great responsibility and possess great gifts in the service of God but it is solemnly stated
that such a person is nothing without love. Allegories are unsatisfactory but it is as if we
said the finest Rolls Royce car was useless without oil in the engine to ensure the sweet
running of all moving parts that come into contact with one another. Examine the
positive and negative aspects of love in the above text. Unless all self is removed and we
are reflecting and giving effect only to the love of God to others, our service is useless.
What this love of God is to others and its outworking is something we have to learn from
the Scriptures with the help of prayer and the Spirit of Truth. All the practical things we
can do for others such as financial help, advice, companionship, must all be conditions
for what is best for them in the long run in the sight of God and this is seldom what we
would offer them on the spur of the moment. We should be able to see that all the things
such as irritation, arrogance and self pride are absolutely opposed to this quality of love
we are to possess.
Our Lord would know what temptations would assail the Apostles after He had gone.
They would be endowed from on high with wonderful gifts and each one would find
himself assuming positions of trust and responsibility quite foreign to their previous
humble backgrounds. How necessary then the impressive lesson that the Son of God
gave in washing the disciple's feet, one of the lowest tasks expected from a servant.