Commanded to Love






TITLE: Commanded to Love

TEXT: John 13:21-36

TONE: Encouragement

TARGET: Believers

TASK: To encourage believers to abide in Christ to be empowered to love.

TEACH: The story of Julius Caesar and Brutus is a classic example of betrayal in history. Julius Caesar come a powerful Roman leader, had amassed great influence and authority in the Roman Republic. However, some members of the Senate group weary of his increasing power and sought to preserve the republic's democratic traditions.


Among these dissenters was Marcus Junius Brutus, a trusted ally and friend of Caesar. Despite their close relationship, Brutus conspired with other senators to assassinate Caesar, believing it was a necessary sacrifice to protect the Republic from tyranny and to maintain the ideals of democracy.


on the March 4/4 BC, Julius Caesar was brutally assassinated by Brutus and his co- conspirators in a shocking act of betrayal. The betrayal by Brutus, particularly as someone whom Caesar had trusted and considered a friend, cut deep into Caesar’s heart it shook the foundations of the Roman world.


The betrayal by Brutus, particularly as someone whom Caesar had trusted and considered a friend, cut deep into Caesar's heart, and shook the foundations of the Roman world.


TRUTH: By washing the disciples feet, Jesus removed from their hearts the mood and temper which would have made them unable to receive his word; one more act must be performed; he must remove from the circle the one unfaithful follower, the one unsympathetic hearer, before he could feel free to pour out before the disciples the full measure of his final message of mystery of love, and of cheer. [1] A very human Jesus is described as “troubled in spirit” (see on 11:33). Though John pictures Jesus as in control of the situation he does not let us think of him as unmoved by the events through which he was passing.[2]


I.                             A command contrary to human nature.

1.        Judas: Betrayal (Calculated): He (ἐκεινος [ekeinos]). Emphatic pronoun again. For whom I shall dip the sop ( ἐγω βαψω το ψωμιον [hōi egō bapsō to psōmion]). Dative case of the relative ( [hōi]) and future active of βαπτω [baptō], to dip (Luke 16:24). Ψωμιον [Psōmion] is a diminutive of ψωμος [psōmos], a morsel, a common Koiné word (in the papyri often), in N. T. only in this passage. It was and is in the orient a token of intimacy to allow a guest to dip his bread in the common dish (cf. Ruth 2:14). So Mark 14:20. Even Judas had asked: “Is it I?” (Mark 14:19=Matt. 26:22). Giveth it to Judas (διδωσιν Ἰουδᾳ [didōsin Ioudāi]). Unobserved by the others in spite of Christ’s express language, because “it was so usual a courtesy” (Bernard), “the last appeal to Judas’ better feeling” (Dods). Judas now knew that Jesus knew his plot.[3]


Here is demonstrated one of the most remarkable truths about our Lord’s heart. On the eve of the cross, just a few hours before he was going to be crucified, our Lord’s heart was troubled, nor for himself, but for another.


a.        His Motivation: Greed and disillusionment played a significant role in Judas’ decision to betray Jesus.

b.       The Consequences: The consequences of Judas’ betrayal were far-reaching and tragic. His actions led to Jesus’ arrest in the Garden, setting in motion the events that would culminate in the crucifixion. Judas could not fix the damage he caused. 

c.        Lesson Learned: Remind us of the dangers of succumbing to greed, selfishness, and deceit.

2.        Peter: Denial (Costly): “Why can I not follow thee even now?” (δια τι οὐ δυναμαι σοι ἀκολουθειν ἀρτι; [dia ti ou dunamai soi akolouthein arti?]). The use of ἀρτι [arti] (right now, this minute) instead of νυν [nun] (at this time, verse 36) illustrates the impatience of Peter. I will lay down my life for thee (τεν ψυχην μου ὑπερ σου θησω [ten psuchēn mou huper sou thēsō]). Future active indicative of τιθημι [tithēmi]. Peter, like the rest, had not yet grasped the idea of the death of Christ, but, like Thomas (11:16), he is not afraid of danger. He had heard Christ’s words about the good shepherd (10:11) and knew that such loyalty was the mark of a good disciple.


Wilt thou lay down? (θησεις; [thēseis?]). Jesus picks up Peter’s very words and challenges his boasted loyalty. Shall not crow (φωνησῃ [phōnēsēi]). Aorist active subjunctive of φωνεω [phōneō], to use the voice, used of animals and men. Note strong double negative οὐ μη [ou mē]. Mark adds δις [dis] (twice). John’s report is almost identical with that in Luke 22:34. The other disciples joined in Peter’s boast (Mark 14:31=Matt. 26:35). Till thou hast denied (ἑως οὑ ἀρνησῃ [heōs hou arnēsēi]). Future middle indicative or aorist middle subjunctive second person singular (form identical) with compound conjunction ἑως οὑ [heōs hou] (until which time), “till thou deny or deniest” (futurum exactum needless). Peter is silenced for the present. They all “sat astounded and perplexed” (Dods).[4]

a.        The Denial: Despite his earlier declaration of unwavering loyalty to Jesus, Peter’s denial in the courtyard of the high priest illustrated the depth of his fear and weakness.

b.        The Consequences: In the midst of his own suffering and impending crucifixion, Jesus witnessed Peter’s denial, fulfilling the prophecy that Peter would disown him three times before the rooster crowed.

c.        Lessons Learned: It reminds us of our own capacity for weakness and failure in times of trial.


Illustration: In Mark 10:17-22, a wealthy young man approached Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Him. However, the young man went away sorrowful because he had great wealth and was not willing to give it up. Here human nature reveals its true character.


II.                         A command opposed by Satan’s nature.

1.        Satan: John 13:27 Then entered Satan into him (τοτε εἰσηλθεν εἰς ἐκεινον Σατανας [tote eisēlthen eis ekeinon ho Satanas]). The only time the word Satan occurs in the Gospel. As he had done before (13:2; Luke 22:3) until Christ considered him a devil (6:70). This is the natural outcome of one who plays with the devil. That thou doest, do quickly ( ποιεις ποιησον ταχειον [Ho poieis poiēson tacheion]). Aorist active imperative of ποιεω [poieō]. “Do more quickly what thou art doing.”[5]

a.        Deception and Lies: He seeks to spread lies about others, create mistrust, and breed resentment, all of which erode the foundation of love.

b.        Selfishness and Pride: He preys on our human weaknesses, particularly or tendencies towards selfishness and pride. He tempts us to prioritize our own desire and interest above the need of others.

c.        Division and Conflict: Satan thrives on creating discord and conflict within relationships and communities. BY sowing seeds of discord, he drives a wedge between individuals, causing rifts and barriers to communication.

d.        Fear and Hatred: These are powerful tools that Satan uses to counteract love. By stoking fear and fueling animosity towards others, he incites violence, discrimination, and oppression.


Illustration: Satan sought to oppose Christ’s acts of love from the beginning through the wilderness temptations.


When we yield to his tactics we surrender to his control, just like Judas.


III.                      A command empowered by Christ nature.

1.        New Command: They had had it a long time, but the practice of it was new. Jesus does not hesitate, like the Father, to give commandments (15:10, 12). That ye love one another (ἱνα ἀγαπατε ἀλληλους [hina agapāte allēlous]). Non-final use of ἱνα [hina] with present active subjunctive of ἀγαπαω [agapaō], the object clause being in the accusative case in apposition with ἐντολην [entolēn]. Note the present tense (linear action), “keep on loving.”[6]

a.        The Source of Love: This love originates from God Himself, who is the epitome of perfect love.

b.        The Nature of Love: Exemplified in Christ, selfless, unconditional. It requires even to love our enemies. The nature of divine love. —Love is an expansion of soul, or the inflaming of the affections, whereby a Christian breathes after God as the supreme and sovereign good. Love is to the soul as the weights to the clock, it sets the soul a-going towards God, as the wings by which we fly to heaven; by love we cleave to God, as the needle to the loadstone.[7]

c.        The Ground of love to God; that is, knowledge.—We cannot love that which we do not know. That our love may be drawn forth to God, we must know these three things in him[8]

d.        The Challenge to Love: It demands humility, forgiveness, and a willingness to step out of our comfort zones.

e.        The Impact of Love: We reflect the character of God and near witness to the transformative power of love.




New command: The jews watered down the Mosiac teaching so they could love whom they wanted and hate whom they wanted. But Christ changed the object of neighbor to one another. This was radical in a world that was so divided by prejudicial divisions that make many of our differences pale by comparison -master and slave. Jews and Gentiles, and so on. The Greek regarded Jews as barbarians. The Jews had the reputation of being haters of the world. There was also a vast chasm between men and women.


No wonder the world was turned upside down, They were a band of brothers.



TAKE-AWAY: The need of the Hour.


1.        Self-Reflection

2.        Spiritual-Growth

3.        Sowing Seeds


TIE-UP: Ultimately, the story of Julius Caesar and Brutus serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the destructive power of betrayal and the need for honesty, humility, and forgiveness in our relationships with others. We are commanded to love.






[1] Charles R. Erdman, The Gospel of John: An Exposition (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1917), 123.


[2] Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 554.


[3] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Jn 13:26.


[4] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Jn 13:37–38.


[5] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Jn 13:27.


[6] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Jn 13:34.


[7] Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial; The Saint’s Spiritual Delight; The Holy Eucharist; and Other Treatises, The Writings of the Doctrinal Puritans and Divines of the Seventeenth Century (The Religious Tract Society, 1846), 71.

[8] Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial; The Saint’s Spiritual Delight; The Holy Eucharist; and Other Treatises, The Writings of the Doctrinal Puritans and Divines of the Seventeenth Century (The Religious Tract Society, 1846), 71.


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