Love Like Jesus

Sometimes it's difficult to love others, especially when there's a cost—and there certainly was for Jesus.
This week we will explore how the Lord exemplified love and how we can do the same.

In John 13:31-32, we read, "When he had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.'"

Jesus was talking about glorification. He said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified."

So, how was Jesus being glorified? What was going on? There are two clues to help us understand what He was saying.

First, He used the word now, which means "by this means." By what means was the Son of Man glorified? Judas Iscariot had just left Jesus and the other disciples to betray Him. How could He be glorified? He was about to be nailed to a cross.

Before Jesus was arrested, He prayed in John 17:1, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You"

Jesus glorified the Father, and the Father glorified the Son through the cross. Because of the timing of Judas's betrayal, Jesus would die as our Passover lamb. The Father and Son would glorify each other by providing reconciliation to sinners through the cross.

It's hard to imagine anything glorious about a cross. It was the ultimate example of humiliation and shame. Stripped naked, beaten, and whipped. Nailed to a rough-hewn cross. Hung to suffer a slow and painful death as a public spectacle. That's why so many people didn't understand what Jesus was talking about when He said, "The Son of Man must be lifted up" (John 3:14-15). They knew what Jesus was talking about, but they didn't understand the necessity of it. The cross was ugly, brutal, horrific, and shameful. Surely this was not fit for the Messiah.

How is it possible there could be anything glorious about a cross?

But it's not the cross itself that is glorious, but what was on display. At the cross, God's love, righteousness, justice, mercy, and grace were magnified as at no other point in history. At the cross, God's justice was upheld as Jesus bore the penalty that His justice demanded for our sins. But His love and grace didn't end at the cross. It was through the cross that Jesus, being our sacrificial lamb payed the penalty we deserve. And it's because of that sacrifice He now offers eternal life to all who repent of their sins and put their faith, hope, and trust in Christ and Christ alone.

How do we know the Father was glorified and approved of the sacrifice?

In John 13:32, Jesus says, "If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once."

What Jesus is saying is that the evidence that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient and approved by the Father is through His resurrection and ascension. Jesus being raised from the dead was the Father's stamp of approval. Plus, Jesus ascended into heaven to take His seat at God's right hand.

There is a great cost to love like Jesus did.

Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matthew 16:24).

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"… walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Ephesians 5:2).

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her …" (Ephesians 5:25).

"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

Even though Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2) and even though through the cross His sheep throughout the whole world would be saved (Hebrews 2:10), it was still a sacrificially, selfless act. Jesus displayed His love for us by going to the cross, and that display of love was costly.

We will learn more about this costly love next time.