Let love rule

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‘Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty’ (Andrew Murray).

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Bible passage John 13:31–38

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial
 31When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

 33"My children, I will 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 command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

 36Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?"
      Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."

 37Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."

 38Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Tags: Denial, Love, Peter

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Tags: Denial, Love, Peter

Explore the Bible

The importance of love
At this critical moment, shortly before he will be taken captive (v 33), what does Jesus most want to stress to his disciples? What does he want to settle in their hearts? To love each other, just as he has loved them (v 34).

He had set the pattern. He had walked the walk. He had showed them what love looked like over the previous three years and now he gives them a clear command which, if followed, would set them apart from the whole world (v 35). Panicked by Jesus’ sudden gravity, Peter blurts out a cry of loyalty, but Jesus knew Peter’s heart better than Peter (vs 37,38).

God teaches us love
If we read 1 Corinthians 13, we get a breakdown of what love looks like: and it could be a description of Jesus. To love each other like this, in the way that Jesus has commanded us, can’t be done through our own efforts and will. To love like this takes God’s love to change us.

When we receive his love he gives us the ability to love others. Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus has made it possible for God to pour his love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), and out of that overflow, we can love others. We can love like Jesus commanded us when we are powered by God’s resources, not our own.


Ask the Holy Spirit to pour his love into your heart. Ask him to help you to love others as Jesus commanded.

James Davies

Deeper Bible study

‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities … and by his wounds we are healed.’ (Isaiah 53:5) Praise God for the healing there is in Jesus.

With the door firmly closed behind Judas, Jesus begins his last substantial teaching of the remaining disciples. This ‘farewell discourse’ starts here and continues to the end of chapter 16. John’s Gospel offers a different perspective from the others: they see Jesus’ glory as coming after his humiliation and death, but John sees it in his sacrifice and suffering. The wonder of God’s glory is not just that he triumphs over death but that, in love, he enters it on our behalf.

Jesus tells the disciples the ways in which they can follow him and the ways they cannot, recalling his comments in 7:33 and 34. Although the revelation of God in Jesus stands in continuity with the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible), it is also something radically new and unique. Where God commanded the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, in Jesus he offers himself as that sacrifice once and for all. We cannot ‘follow’ this, in the sense that there is nothing we can do to add to what he has done or repeat it.

However, we can – and must – follow in the way of love. Just as we cannot come after him without walking the way of the cross in giving up our lives (Mark 8:34), so we cannot claim to be his without loving the way he loved, washing one another’s feet. In one sense this teaching is not new – we have already been commanded to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18) – but it comes now with new quality and new clarity, as we have Jesus’ own example to follow. The disciples cannot do this yet (v 36), because the life of Jesus by his Spirit has not yet been poured out into them, and so the Spirit becomes the next focus of Jesus’ teaching.

Ian Paul

Bible Background: Meet Peter

Peter is one of those great, larger than life individuals.

● Prepared to leave his livelihood and follow Jesus without knowing where it would lead (Mark 1:16–18).

● Spending time with Jesus and seeing him at work.

● Ready to step out of the boat – only to find that he lacked the faith to proceed (Matthew 14:22–36).

● Having a deep insight into the nature of Jesus as the Son of God, but completely misunderstanding what that meant and being rebuked (Matthew 16:13–20).

● Refusing to have his feet washed and then demanding that all of him be washed (John 13:1–11).

● Waving swords in the garden and then finding himself unable to speak for Jesus when challenged by a housemaid (John 18:10,11,15–18,25–27).

He is a brash, impulsive, inconsistent, unreliable, perhaps insecure individual. But also determined, courageous, willing to try anything.

Desolated by his denial he went back to his fishing only to be met by Jesus on the beach to experience the gentle rebuilding and restoration (John 21:15–19).

His time with Jesus was life transforming. The scene on the beach was crucial but so was the filling with the Spirit at Pentecost. When he preached he did so with a new power and authority (Acts 2:1–41).

And yet the journey is still not over. He has to discover that the good news is for Gentiles too (Acts 10:1–48).

In his hope and his failure, his trust and his doubt, we meet someone we can identify with. The way in which Jesus forgives and restores him reassures us. Seeing him empowered by the Spirit gives us hope. 

John Grayston

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Song of Songs 7,8

Psalms 99–101

Pass it forward

The culture around us has lots of theories about what love is – much of which is more to do with romance and sex. So much so that even Christians can struggle at times to define what it involves. Reflect on this as you watch this meditation.



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Perfect love
Geraldine Latty and busbee
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music/The Livingstone Collective/kingswaysongs.com
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com

Love each other – Graham Kendrick
Graham Kendrick
© 2009 Make Way Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com

  • Janet Webb | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Good morning all.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Jesus was speaking to His disciples of His death, less than twenty-four hours away. Jesus had repeatedly told His disciples of His death and His victory in resurrection so that their hearts would not be troubled (John 14:1). But the disciples didn’t understand and suffered needless agony during Christ’s three days in the grave. Likewise, the Lord has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of His Word (2 Peter 1:3-4) so that there is no excuse for the anxiety we as Christians many times experience. We just need to believe God’s Word. We need to pray that the Lord would open our understanding that we might understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).

  • Graham Fuller | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Good morning Janet. Welcome to word live. Today I read John's gospel with mixed feelings having just heard of the passing of a friend of mine in N Z. He was a great man of God and will be sorely missed. On the other hand he will now be with Jesus in heaven. God's blessings on his family and others who are saddened by his passing.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Moment by moment love is changing us; we learn to be appreciative of everything we have; contentment. Jesus models a God-filled life for us and says ....."all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (Verse 35) There is nothing better for us than to practice. JANET - Have a good day resting in the love of our Lord and Saviour.

  • Stephen Nicholls | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    I have just received this from the wife of Pastor Ramesh who I try to support a little in India. "Respected Br Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ Here we had more and more rains our house is damaged and unable to sleep inside the house; rains come inside of our house we are unable run the family; many times we are starving we can't feed my children please do pray for us. We are continue upholding praying for you all God bless you all your Radha" We have seen on TV about the flooding in India. Great swathes of water across hundreds of miles: no shops are open - neither people nor goods can get into the towns. How lucky we are to know that we have only to open a cupboard in our kitchen to find food: and our taps always produce drinking water. Please add Ramesh and Radha and all those suffering from flooding in India to your prayers. Thank you: may God bless each one of you.

  • Frank Collins | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    I'm no great lover of poetry but I found the words of Jude and the verse of the hymn from Derek yesterday very moving. And to see familiar names sharing their presence again. Thanks for everyone being there and your supporting prayers.

  • Frank Collins | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    I'm no great lover of poetry but I found the words of Jude and the verse of the hymn from Derek yesterday very moving. And to see familiar names sharing their presence again. Thanks for everyone being there and your supporting prayers.

  • Frank Collins | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Yes we will pray for Ramesh and Radha and the village there.

  • Derek Forster | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest; Now Thee alone I seek, Give what is best; This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!

  • Jennifer Yohannes | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Yes, thank you, STEPHEN for telling us of Ramesh & Radha. We will be praying for them. It's hard not to compare these dear people with the people in the USA also suffering from floods. There is so much less help for them.

  • Roger Hall | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Graham, it's amazing how much of a hole appears, when a great Christian makes it through to the celestial city! But, I wonder when our body has shed the old and put on the new, we will certainly not be Resting in Peace, but the new body inexhaustible! Wow!

  • Tim Berry | Saturday, 02 September 2017

    Hi STEPHEN I will certainly add Ramesh and Radha to my prayers. I have links with a pastor in Nepal, Milan Adkikari, and I would value prayers for him and his family as they are experiencing serious flooding as well.

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