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Thursday, 12 May 2022 19:30

Farewell, glory & discipleship of love

When Judas had gone Jesus said:
‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.

My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another;
just as I have loved you,
you also must love one another.
By this love you have for one another,
everyone will know that you are my disciples’.
(John 13:31-35)



Given during Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, these words begin what is called The Farewell Discourse in John’s Gospel (13:31-17:26). They are Jesus’ last words to his disciples before his death.

In the course of offering assurance and comfort, Jesus develops various themes that have been introduced earlier in his ministry, including in particular glory, mutual indwelling and love. His main point is the experience of life in God the disciples have and will continue to have. The relationship between the Father and the Son, which has been revealed in the first twelve chapters of the Gospel, Jesus now declares to be realised in the disciples.

The relationship between the Father, the Son and the Spirit are described in more detail here than anywhere else in the Bible. In these chapters, therefore, is the most profound teaching on God and discipleship in the Bible.

The first part of today’s Gospel reading is a bit confusing unless we understand that ‘glory’ in the biblical tradition has to do with the revelation of the unseen God. So, in these lines there is a sense of mutual glorification - the Father is revealed in the Son and the Son reveals the Father in his death on the cross. The Son will reveal the love of the Father most patently when he gives up his life.

Using the intimate form of address, ‘My little children,’ Jesus gently begins to prepare the disciples for the difficult reality of his leaving them.

Just as Jesus has been God’s love in action in the world, so now, the disciples must be. The indispensable nature of abiding in love is underlined by the use of ‘commandment’. It is through their mutual love that all will recognise them as disciples of the One who loved even to laying down his life. 

Read our Celebrating At Home prayer and reflections for this Sunday.

pdf Celebrating At Home Fifth Sunday of Easter [PDF] (3.36 MB)                              
default Celebrating At Home Fifth Sunday of Easter [ePub] (5.77 MB)