Focal Passages: John 13:4-35; 1 John 3:10b-12, 16-18;
In the upper room on the night He was betrayed, Jesus opened
His heart more fully to His disciples than ever before. They leaned forward,
intent upon hearing His every word. He called them His children (John 13:33), and like a parent consoling a child,
explained that everything would be all right, and that God would be glorified
through His death.
The disciples were anxious like children being torn from
their parent, wishing to go along but being told they could not go (v. 33b).
To comfort them, Jesus said in effect, “This is how you can
help one another when I am gone: I give you a new commandment: Just as I have
loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that
you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (v. 34-35).
Jesus did not require miracles, prophecies, or anything else
as a prerequisite for discipleship.
Love alone would distinguish them as Christians (little
Christs) after He was gone, and the future of the Church hinged upon their love
for one another.
Would they pass the test? History proves they did, for the
early Church flourished and grew like wildfire. You and I are beneficiaries of
the love that passed down to us as testimony of how the disciples excelled, so
that observers commented, “How those Christians love one another!”
Are you blessed to belong to a church known for its love? If
not, seek ways to help it become such a church.
Nothing grieves God’s heart more than to see professing
Christians eating each other up with bitter words and unkind deeds.
A teacher once asked his students how they could tell when
night ends and day begins.
“Could it be,” one student suggested, “when you see an
animal at a distance and know whether it is a sheep or a dog?”
“No,” replied the teacher.
“Could it be,” said another, “when you see a tree in the
distance and tell whether it is an apple tree or a peach tree?”
“No,” the teacher said. “It’s when you look at any man or
woman and see that person as your brother or sister; because, until you do
this, regardless of what time it is, it will still be night.”
If you and I are to touch the world for Jesus, it will be
through loving as Jesus loved and doing whatever we can to ensure the happiness
and well-being of others.