There are so many points in chapters 15 & 16 of John’s Gospel as we read it this morning that a whole book could be written (and have been written) seeking to draw out as fully as possible the lessons Jesus taught. One of these is, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” [15 v.12]
Talking about love is common in today’s world; for example, one can sing songs like -“I first loved you when …” There’s an abundance of similar songs, In contrast the love that the Bible speaks about is the special nature of a relationship that can exist between human beings. Jesus says he has demonstrated this by the love he has shown to his disciples.
How did he demonstrate this? What did he do? He showed understanding and encouragement when their faith was frail; he washed their feet as an example of humility and of serving one another. At one stage his disciples were excited at the thought of becoming important and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom …” He called a child and “put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom … “ [Matt. 18 v.1-3]
At the end of today’s reading notice how Jesus responds to their declaration that “we believe that you came from God”. He asks a significant question, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home … I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” [16 v.30-33]
Peace? The nature of “in me you may have peace” is far beyond normal human experience. True love brings true peace. We need to notice when we come to read the letters some of the disciples how they use the word “peace.” James wrote, “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” [3 v.18] Are you helping to sow “peace” – so as to create this “harvest”?
Peter wrote, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you” [1 Peter 1 v.2]. Then he urges, “long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” [2 v.2,3] Growing up? How? Tasted? Can you ‘taste’ in other ways? Obviously! More food here for our thoughtful meditation, indeed, deepest meditation.
Reading and meditating on John’s Gospel is a rich source of spiritual nutrients and helps true believers to genuinely believe – and as a result to – love each other “as I have loved you.” It is a ‘belief’ in which our hearts are fully involved – it is far and above intellectual understanding.