Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Believers Birth "Mark"

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35, ESV)

John has used the first twelve chapters of his gospel to record the approximate three year ministry of Jesus, the Christ. John uses chapters thirteen through seventeen to record the events of a single night in the life of our Lord. These events take place on the eve of the crucifixion of Jesus.

After Judas leaves Jesus and the eleven remaining disciples, Jesus knows that what is about to take place is as good as done. He states that he is, "...glorified, and God is glorified in him." (VS 31, ESV) Jesus then informs the disciples that he is going away and that they cannot come with him. He then gives them this "new" commandment.

Of course this commandment in one sense is not new, is it? This commandment was really and old commandment that had been given in Leviticus 19:18. In another place it was referred to as the "second commandment," second to the great commandment to love God with all of their heart, mind, and soul. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Why did Jesus call it new? What significance was attached to it that caused Jesus to reiterate this commandment? What value is this commandment to believers today?

First, from this commandment we see that the distinguishing mark of a true Christian is the love that believers have for one another. Love is the visible mark of being a true disciple of Jesus, the Christ.

Second, the command to love one's neighbor was not new. The reason Jesus called it a new commandment is seen in the manner in which he called his disciples to love one another -- just as he had loved them. This demonstrates for us the standard or the bar of the type or kind of love that we are to have for one another. This commandment from Jesus confirms the standard by which we, as believers, are to love one another. 

What is implied is that our love for one another is sacrificial. It even implies that we also, are to be willing to lay down our lives for one another. It also implies that Jesus is our source which enables believers to love in such a manner.

If we love one another as Jesus loved his disciples then the pagans, those in the world who do not know Jesus would know that we are his disciples. Now, do not be confused, much of the world will still hate us, persecute us, and despise us. Obeying this commandment will not change the prevailing attitude toward believers. Obeying this commandment simply identifies believers as believers when they love in the same manner and from the same source as our Lord. Only believers endowed by Christ's enablement could ever love in such a manner.

What do you think?

1 comment:


Great to read Gregg, always a pleasure.