Grace Inspires Amazing Love

May 15, 2022

Pastor John Hering

John 13:31-35

John 13:31-35

31 After Judas left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.”

33 “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.  34 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

You enjoy special days in your life.  There is a very special day coming up for Grant and Hannah—they are getting married on May 29th.  I would also call today a special day for them because we are having a wedding shower for them after second service today.  The wedding shower will be fun, but it probably won’t be as fun at the wedding reception will be.  People love wedding receptions with the young people all dressed up, special speeches by the best man and maid of honor.  During the reception the guests have fun trying to figure out a way to get the newlyweds to kiss!  Maybe you have to tell a story about the couple and after the story—they kiss.  Or sometimes you have to sing a song with the word “love” in it—and they kiss.  I hope Grant and Hannah do that at their own reception because I have my song I’m gonna sing all set: “Oh, I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer Wiener!”  Maybe you should just kiss right now!! LOL! 

This past week I told the 5th and 6th Grade Catechism class that I loved them and they all giggled.  Then I had to explain to them what love I was talking about.  We talked about love being both an emotion and an action.  Today in the Word of God before us Jesus is with his disciples in the upper room on Maundy Thursday of holy week talking to them about love.  This love changes the way we think and behave. 

See God’s Grace That Inspires Amazing Love

Love that is always there

Let’s say you knew someone who was out to get you and ruin your life.  If you saw them at a restaurant, would you approach them or even want to talk with them?  This happened to Jesus.  Judas was one of Jesus’ handpicked disciples.  For three years Jesus taught Judas about love for all people.  Judas had seen Jesus perform miracles and always love people.  All along the way Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him, but he didn’t retaliate based on his knowledge but always reached out to him with amazing love. Jesus replied, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread, after I have dipped it in the dish.” Then he dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot (John 13:26).  Jesus’ forgiving love was always there for Judas, calling him to repentance and a change of heart.  But, Judas rejected Jesus’ call to repentance and left to carry out his evil plan.  That’s where we pick up the account. 31 After Judas left, If the disciples didn’t feel it, Jesus most certainly felt the tension in the air. Something very, very big was happening.

You know this, for you know Scripture.  You know that during the months and weeks before this night Jesus had instructed his disciples.  Jesus told them plainly, Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law, and they will condemn him to death (Matt 20:18).  Do you remember what Peter said? Lord! This will never happen to you (Matt 16:22).  You understand what is happening when Judas leaves the room, but the disciples didn’t. They wondered how in the world Jesus would be able to restore the kingdom of David if he was dead.  It was just days earlier when Jesus and the disciples learned of Lazarus’ death that the following conversation took place. [Jesus said] “Let’s go back to Judea.”  The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, recently the Jews were trying to stone you. And you are going back there again?”…. Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”  16 Then Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go too, so that we may die with him (John 11:7-16).  Jesus loved Lazarus and Jesus loved his disciples, but at this point they couldn’t comprehend that  God’s Grace that Inspired Amazing Love was always there for them.

But, now they are in the upper room and Jesus is going to go very deep with them to teach them about God’s Grace that Inspires Amazing Love. “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.  As Jesus started this conversation I don’t think any of the disciples were thinking that Jesus was talking about death!  For when is there ever glory in death?   No, when they heard Jesus talking about glory, I’m sure you could hear the sigh of relief coming from those disciple reclining at the table!  “That’s a relief!  Now he’s talking!  We all know what glory looks like!”  And so you do!  Glory comes to people who are winners!  Glory comes to people who are in first place.  Glory happens when people look and you and say, “You’re awesome!”   But, their idea of glory turned cold when they heard the next words, 33 “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer.  They heard those words and it was a spiritual sock in the stomach!

Did Jesus’ words sock you, too?  Or do you understand that in these words Jesus was promising that His Love Was Always There For You?  How?  You recognize that Jesus is talking about being away from his disciples for a little while to suffer and die on the cross to accomplish the purpose for which his Father sent him.  Jesus is talking about The Glorious Grace from His Father That Inspired Amazing Love!  Jesus was going to the cross because of the Father’s Amazing Love For You That Was Always There For You.

You know what these words mean, You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.  By going to the cross Jesus Christ was loving you—both an emotion and an action!  Jesus explained this loving work that is always there for you just days earlier: The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it continues to be one kernel. But if it dies, it produces much grain (John 12:23-24).  If I told you that this morning I’ve arranged to have the Garland Police drive by our church with 20 police cars at 11:30, would you go out to the street and watch it?  Probably.  But, do you know what would make it super cool for you?  If in the first police car was an officer that came to your house last week and stopped a burglar from stealing your stuff.  Then the burglar pointed a gun at you and fired just as the police officer jumped in front of you to take the bullet for you.  If that happened, then you would say, “Hurry up with the sermon so I can run out to the street and get all ready to wave and shout!  What a glorious police officer!  He risked his life for me!” His loving action becomes our loving emotion!

Jesus said, Where I am going, you cannot come, but we know by going to the cross Jesus provided his Forgiving Love For us That Is Always There!  Yes, Jesus gave his life for you!  Wow!  What Amazing Grace That Inspired Such Amazing Love!  Jesus died and lives so that even though some day you will die, you know Jesus’ love for you will never die because it is Love That Is Always There, and

It is Love We Get To Share

There are so many songs that speak about love.  There are many stories that speak of love as well.  Let me tell you one.  There was a man who married a beautiful woman.  One day she developed a skin disease and slowly she began to lose her beauty.  She went to the dermatologist for help and there was nothing that could be done (something for my dermatologist wife in this story).  The husband was on a business trip, had an accident and lost his eyesight.  She continued to lose her beauty but the husband didn’t know this and their married life continued on as before. He continued to love her and she loved him very much, too.  One day she died.  Her death brought him great sorrow, but after the funeral the man wanted to move away from the town.  A friend said, “How will you be able to survive without your wife there to help you?”  The man answered, “I’m not blind. I was acting because if she knew I could see her skin condition it would have pained her more than the disease.  I didn’t love her for her beauty on the outside, but her beauty on the inside!  So, I pretended to be blind because all I wanted was for her to be happy!”  Awwwwww!  This man had Love To Share!

When Jesus said, Where I am going, you cannot come, this really wasn’t a sad statement!  Yes, Jesus knew he was going to suffer and die on the cross for us all by himself.  But, he his leaving wasn’t going to hurt the disciples, it was going to help them.  Jesus was loving them to the point of death!  And his death meant Jesus would not be seen by them for some time, but later they would learn and believe what this death meant for them.  Jesus was sharing God’s Amazing Grace That Inspired Amazing Love to Share!  So, Jesus told them what to do during their difficult days, 34 A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  The disciples were to remember Jesus’ love for them and Share That Love with Each Other. Remember to whom Jesus spoke these words were disciples who had a tendency of going their own way, or argue about who was the greatest, to bicker and fight, and think of themselves at the master rather than the servant, and soon be running away from the Garden of Gethsemane.  They would all know how difficult it would be to love one another.

But, God’s Grace would Inspire Amazing Love for them to share.  They would recall how patient and compassionate Jesus was for them, his willingness to be their servant and Savior, to remember Jesus’ amazing grace and love for them and be Inspired to Share that Love with Others.  The Acts of the Apostles records some of these events for us. 32 The whole group of believers was one in heart and soul. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they held everything in common (Acts 4:32).  When they remembered Jesus’ Amazing Love for them, they could turn around and share that Amazing Love with Others.

I’m very comfortable being here with you all today.  We all know each other and are thankful for each other.  I remember a conversation I had with some of you 10 years ago when we were growing to a point when our members didn’t know each other by name.  I assured them that while we may not know each other by name we all share the love Jesus has given to us.  You all know God’s Amazing Grace that has Inspired us to Share that Love with Others.  It means that we would become a multisite congregation and Share Jesus’ love with lots more people.  If our whole congregation from both Garland and Rockwall would all get together, we would meet people we don’t know by name, but we all share Jesus’ love together.  And we’re not done sharing that love!

Our congregation is part of the WELS.  That means we pool our resources together to send missionaries to Africa, Asia and Europe.  It means there are new missions up and running in Amarillo, Waco, and Victoria.  It means that our church body has adopted a mission vision that calls for 100 new missions in the next 10 years!  Some have said, “How is this possible since we have over 140 churches without pastors in our church body?”  It happens when you pause to recall God’s Amazing Grace That Inspires Amazing Love to Share and You Share It!

So, since Grant and Hannah’s wedding is going to be near San Antonio I guess most of us won’t be there to sing love songs to them.  But, may God’s Amazing Grace That Inspires Amazing love fill your hearts and lives with love that is with us all time, and love we get to share with others!  Amen!

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