Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Oct 30, 2016
Japanese and English Joint Service:

“God's Miniature" No. 12a by Rev. Toru Asai
1 John 4:12, John 18, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)


No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12).

Pay attention to the phrase "… is made complete …" Here, with "his love" as its subject, it means that the love of the invisible God comes to be seen as its fulfillment through us. The same type of fulfillment occurs for God's word when we believe, and act upon it. It is crucial to know that God himself fulfills his word through us who believe: we do not have the power to fulfill his word, but God does. In the same way, it is God himself who makes his love work in you, and make it complete through us. Love comes from God, not from us.

And so we know and rely on (believe in) the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him (vv. 16-17).

To love one another does not depend upon us: if so, we will have no confidence. It depends upon God himself. Therefore, if we try to love with our own love by saying, "Oh, I have to love," we will fail and the love we think we have will not be made complete.

Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you (John 13:37)."

After this, the story goes on to show an acute contrast between the love Jesus had for his disciples, and the love Peter claimed to have for Jesus. The question is: which love comes to be fulfilled? Jesus, at the garden of Gethsemane, had just finished praying, and saw a band of soldiers (Romans) led by its commander (chiliarchos, a leader of a thousand soldiers) together with some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees coming toward him. He went up to face them and asked, "who is it you want?" and they replied, "Jesus of Nazareth." Then, he said, "I am" ("ego eimi," which was spoken most likely in Greek because the soldiers were Romans). On the other hand, Peter, when a maid who was on duty at the gate of the house of the high priest asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" he replied, "I am not" ("ouk eimi"). "Ego eimi" refers to the name of God who appeared to Moses, "I am that I am," and it signifies God's strong determination to do what he wills (Exod 3). Inside Jesus, this God was living. Therefore, the moment he said it, the soldiers "drew back and fell to the ground."

Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

The whole life of Jesus was the fulfillment of what the Father said. In contrast, Peter, in spite of the confession given by a relative of the official whose ear was cut off by him (yet, Jesus healed him), denied that he was Jesus' disciple. His love for Jesus was not made complete. Instead, Jesus' word came to be fulfilled when a rooster crowed. Jesus later said to him:

"Feed my lambs."

Jesus' love for Peter did not change at all. It is, in fact, amazing to see how Peter went on to be used by God. The three times of Peter's denial were replaced by the three times of Jesus' commission of "Feed my lambs." This time, God himself brought the unfulfilled confession of Peter, "I will lay down my life for you," to its fulfilment by his own love.

Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me (v. 19)!"

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