Christ’s Farewell Sermon to His Disciples

William Gladstone, in announcing the death of Princess Alice to the House of Commons, told a touching story. The little daughter of the Princess was seriously ill with diphtheria. The doctors told the Princess not to kiss her little daughter and endanger her life by breathing the … More


From a human perspective, the death of Christ was terrible thing that involved unspeakable suffering and humiliation; but from a heavenly perspective it was the revelation of the love of God. “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified” (12:23). The word love is used only twelve times in John 1-12, but in chapters 13-21 it is used forty-four times! It is a key word in Christ’s farewell sermon to His disciples. With the exit of Judas, the stage was set for that series of events that would bring glory to both the Father and the Son (vv. 31-32).  He was only about 40 hours from His death and 40 days from His ascension when He would be with the Father. Jesus speaks with the tenderness and affection of a father when He says, “Little Children” (v. 33). This is the only time this phrase is used in the Gospels. He didn’t have much time left and anything they wanted to know they would need to learn quickly.

Our Lord was speaking to His disciples for the last time before He went to the cross. He was  giving them His last message and that message was, “Love one another” (vv. 34-35). Under the law they had been commanded to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18) but now Jesus was giving them a newer and higher standard.  He commanded His disciples to love one another “even as I have loved you.”. At this point Peter is still a little confused. Christ tells him that he will follow afterwards (vv. 36-38). Peter’s time of death had not yet come (Heb. 9:27). Note Peter’s impulsiveness. He wants to be with Christ now. Christ predicted the exact opposite of Peter’s claims. Peter said he would die, but Christ died. Peter would deny his Master.


If I knew I had only twenty-four hours to spend with a friend before he died, what would I want to do?  Lord, help me to be a person who senses the urgency to get your message of the Gospel out.

John 13:31-38 (English Standard Version)

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. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward." Peter said to him, "Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times."

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