“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
This is the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus. This is how people will know that we are followers of Jesus, when they see our love for each other.
Now, it’s interesting the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then the second commandment Jesus says is like it. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So why does Jesus say here, “this is the distinguishing mark of my disciples, they love one another.”
John 13:34–35 describes what a disciple of Christ looks like
The distinguishing mark of a disciple of Christ is love for others. When we love God, we will have His love for those around us.
Well it makes sense, doesn’t it? When we love God, when our hearts are tuned to him and his heart, then we will have his love for the people around us. And we will love just like Jesus said, just as he loves us, we will love one another. And then that love will mark Christian community. That love will mark the church and be a testimony to a watching world. Yet I fear, I’m guessing you might fear the same thing, that oftentimes that’s not the testimony that we in the church give to the world around us.
Is this love and care and compassion for one another, this serving one another just like we see in John 13 as Jesus stoops to wash his disciples feet. So, do we need to pray for this?
This verse calls us to love each one another
In our relationship, specifically our Christian relationships, in the church, God please help us to love each other as you have called us to love Jesus. As you have shown us how to love, help us to serve each other.
You know what I think about, the church I’m a part of, as others things about their churches, help me, help us to serve the people in that church. We pray that increasingly we would think less of ourselves and more of them. That our concern in the church would be for others’ good, not for our own reputation. God that you would deliver us as your church from gossip, from undercutting one another, from actually showing a lack of love for one another. Please deliver us from competing with one another, with comparing ourselves to one another. Help us to, in a Philippians 2 kind of way, look to others’ interests above our own. God, we pray, we ask in our homes, in our churches, may John 13 like love be evident in us.
John 13:34–35 Reminds us to love as Jesus loved
Lord, today help us to love as Jesus loved. Today, help us to serve as Jesus served, today. Not tomorrow, God, not even just kind of ambiguous, generally in the future, God today help us to love other followers of Christ in a way that shows those who are not followers of Christ what the love of Christ looks like in action. Help us to do something today. Specifically, that shows that kind of love and help us to do that again, tomorrow, the next day until that becomes the norm among us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
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