Scripture For Today: John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
There is one trait that Jesus said would be the identifying trait of His disciples – Love. The same love that He had expressed to them was to be expressed between believers and that expression would be the “last piece of the puzzle” that identified His disciples to all men. We can perform a spiritual DNA test on our own lives if we will check our love for one another as disciples of Jesus Christ.
“Our wonderful life in Christ is to be a life of selfless, loving service because of our new nature in Christ – Love.”
Jesus is has just told the disciples that He is leaving them and that they could not come where He was going. “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” John 13:33. This is the first time since they had left all to follow Him that He had left them alone in a way that seemed permanent. He had sent them out with a commission, He had sent them ahead of Him from time to time, He had even gone apart to pray, but this time He simply said I am only going to be with you for a little more time and then where I am you can not come. Before I go I am going to tell you how to keep me leading your steps from moment to moment and how to keep your identity as my followers; by you each loving one another as I have loved each of you. It is Jesus who establishes love as the identifying trait of the make up of the nature and character of His disciples.
The standard of love that He calls them to is, “as I have loved you”. If we think of the ways that Jesus loved the disciples it will instruct us. First, Jesus love for these men was unconditionally caused. We begin with the nature of His love as seen in the word agapao, it is that dear, close love that is of unconditional cause, and selfless nature. It is the foundation of all love relationships regardless of their intimacy. The unconditional love for other disciples that is a joy to our heart when we are together, and is not based on what any have done to merit it is the nature of His love and the love commanded to the disciples that night. Second, it was unconditionally sacrificial. In John chapter fifteen Jesus repeats this commandment, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13. Jesus would soon go to Calvary for the sins of these men and all mankind. While He spoke these words commanding them to love one another, Judas was out doing the work of betrayal. Jesus love for these men was unconditionally sacrificial and the love He calls them to is such as well. They were to spend their lives serving one another, and give their lives, if called upon, for one another and for Jesus name’s sake. A disciple professing love who will not give their life to or for others is revealing that instead of loving one another as Christ loves us they love themselves above all. Third, the love of Jesus Christ for them was life changing. They changed their vocation, pursuits, desires, priorities, attitudes, and activities to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ whom they loved. It was His love for them that produced their love for Him and motivated everything they did. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Jesus love for them changed everything about their lives.
The great news is that Jesus loves you! The spiritual make up of a Christian is to be our continuing to love one another as Jesus Christ loves us while we wait for His return. His love will change our lives and demonstrate our new birth. It begins with our unconditional love for Him, and then makes that love known by our unconditional love for one another. Our wonderful life in Christ is to be a life of selfless, loving service because of our new nature in Christ – love. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13.