But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
1. It is well that "we do not know when the last time is the last: unconsciously and without premonition we leave our door, we retire to bed, we grasp the hand of our friend for the last time: and by and by it is said, "He is not, for God hath taken him." How much of mercy there is in this veiling of the future, this sparing of farewells, we may understand from the flutter and pain with which foreseen and calculated things are done for the last time. We leave home, friends, church, and, even though it be for improved conditions, there is a laceration in the parting proportioned to the length of association.
2. We are differently constituted. Some can change their homes with as little thought or feeling as they can change their clothes. They have lived in half a dozen houses, worshipped in half a dozen churches. They strike no deep roots, and feel no parting sorrow deeper than good natural regret. Hardly is this the finest type of human feeling. To merely be put down on a surface and strike no roots difficult or painful to pull up, is a grave implication of either the plant or the soil. In this departure —
I. CHRIST WAS IMPELLED BY HIS SUPREME SENSE OF DUTY. "As the Father gave Me commandment." No self-interest, no sentiment, was ever permitted to interfere with this sense of duty. While yet a youth it was the supreme law of life — "Wist ye not," etc. As a man it dominated all impulses of filial affection. "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"
1. In all great lives the sense of duty is dominant. Sometimes God gives reasons for what He requires of us; but if the only reason is that God has demanded it we may not hesitate. As with an army or a child, the commander and father may not be able to give reasons, nevertheless duty is imperative. God has many purposes we cannot understand.
2. In many of us the sense of duty is weak. We consult our convenience, advantage, likings. How rarely we choose unpleasant work because of its importance!
3. No strong or noble character can come out of this. A man who will not for the sake of duty do an arduous thing will never build up his moral strength or glorify God.
II. ANOTHER IMPULSE WAS TO PRODUCE THE IMPRESSION OF HIS FILIAL AFFECTION. "That the world may know."
1. Love is the inspiration of all high duty. Duty is not mere measured service. A son who weighed the literal word of command could hardly be called dutiful.
2. Our Lord attached great importance to the impression which His loving duty made upon men. He would have the world see it so that it might inspire love. What shall I do to show my love to God? Let selfishness or sentiment come in, and how narrowed becomes the sphere of duty, and how poor its motive I There can be no blessing upon it.
III. TO MAINTAIN DUTY AND LOVE THE MASTER TOOK NO COUNT OF EASE OR SAFETY. "Arise," etc. He went forth to His foreseen passion and death. We often hesitate to run a risk for Him. He laid down His life for the sheep. To maintain duty He broke up the tenderest fellowship with His own.
(H. Allon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.