"The Glory and Misery of Discipleship," Pastor Doug Kamstra, John 13:31-38, January 26, 2020 PM


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The Glory and Misery of Discipleship (A Study of the Gospel of John) John 13:31-38

A. This is the beginning of Jesus’ Closing Discourse - John 14-16

1. Jesus explains the significance and implications of his greatest deeds - i.e., his

death and his resurrection

“[This] is one of the greatest compositions in literature...because the one who speaks here speaks as no human being has ever spoken” (Raymond Brown)

2. What happens before, during and immediately after “this weekend” will

determine human time as no other event since creation

B. Jesus gives his disciples a heads up on the glory and misery of following him


A. When Judas left, Jesus knew his Father had commenced his final work

1. Jesus says, “Now...” as if his work is already done (“the prophetic perfect”)

2. Jesus gives himself the title, “Son of Man” (cf. Daniel 7:13-14)

3. “Glorified”, from the root “doxa” (doxology), means praise and honor

B. John (always) speaks of Jesus’ cross as glorification (cf. 7:39; 11:4, 53; 12:16, 23-24; 28; 13:31-32; 14:13; 17:1, 4-5)

1. In his death and rising we see the depth and height of God’s love for His world

2. Love always costs something! God’s love cost Jesus his life

“There is not greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13b)

C. Amazing glorification will occur the coming weekend -

1. The glorification of the Father by his Son on the cross

2. The glorification of the Son by his Father in the resurrection

3. The glorification of his disciples by the Father and Son’s love them for them


A. This is a “sad” verse following Jesus’ teaching of his glorification

1. Is Jesus saying even disciples don’t “automatically” get into heaven?

2. Is Jesus saying there’s no cheap “God is love and we all get in” universalism?

3. Is Jesus reminding us that any and all access to the Father is by grace alone?

B. Thankfully this verse has an affectionate greeting: “Dear little children...”

1. Wasn’t the whole purpose of our discipleship to follow you?

2. Jesus concludes this teaching with “for now”- changing hopeless into hopeful

a. Without the cross (19:30), his resurrection (20:22), the gift of his Spirit,

and the gift of faith - we are all hopeless (including Jesus’ disciples)

b. Even “now”, we are deeply needy human beings who need to “listen up”


A. The lived-out love of Christians for one another has the single greatest

missionary impact on the world

1. This love doesn't come from the disciples; it comes from Christ’s love

“Have a heart for one another out of the well of my heart for you” (13:34; Bruner)

2. Jesus’ disciples, by definition, have this “resource” - Jesus’ continual love

B. This love is, first, for fellow disciples, for His Church

1. When Christians live affectionately with other Christians, they make

a deep impact on each other and on the world

2. We think the world doesn't notice; they do

3. Jesus is inviting (commanding!) His Church to love one another...

4. Church loyalty is almost as important as loyalty to Christ himself

C. Our love for each other is an essential part of world mission


A. Peter doesn't understand why he has to wait when he is ready “now!”

1. Peter says he’s ready to “lay down his [whole] life” for Jesus

2. This error has had a long and disastrous history for people and the Church

3. Jesus: “You’re going to lay down you’re life for me?”

B. Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denials reminds us not to take glory in our position

1. It is not about us. Who lays down whose life for whom in the Christian faith?

2. Our vanity, ego, and self-centeredness can lead us to think we’re fully devoted to Jesus, ready to lay our life down for him and earn our “forever”

C. Jesus gives us a great model of great loving...

1. He challenges us to emulate him; he challenges us to be His Church

2. And when we build it..., they will come