John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This is a verse that I quoted before. I like it a lot because it doesn’t say, knowing scripture, or doing works, or reaching some level is how they know we are His disciples. It says “if you have love for one another.” A true disciple of Jesus Christ is one that loves people. Sure knowing scripture and doing works are part of following God and growing in Him. But no one cares about what you know until they know how much you care. Love is what breaks all barriers. It’s the most powerful thing we can do and at times the hardest. Especially if you have ever been betrayed. The thing about this verse is that it comes right after Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, including Judas. The one who would betray Him. Why would He do that?
Sometimes God gives me words to explain a concept and other times there are men who have said it better. This is a time when someone else has said it better. Here is an excerpt from Jon Courson’s commentary. It’s long but it’s worth the read.
“Even though it was dark, Jesus said to His disciples, “This is the hour of glory. I’m going to be leaving, and where I’m going, you can’t come now. So in the meantime, I’m giving you a new commandment to love one another.” A new commandment? Doesn’t it say way back in Leviticus that we are to love God and that we are to love our neighbor? Isn’t that the message, really, of the Scriptures in their entirety? Hadn’t Jesus Himself said that upon these two commandments—to love God and to love people—hang all the aw and the prophets? What does He mean a new commandment? Look carefully at what Jesus is saying because it’s radical. Yes, the Old Testament is filled with commandments and exhortations to love. But Jesus here makes everything new when He says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love them? How does Jesus love us? That’s what’s new. Paul tells us how He loves us when he writes, “Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). The newness, the unfolding, the fullness of this new commandment is that we are to love in a way that costs us your life—not just loving generally, but loving sacrificially to the place of death. You see, biblically there is never true reconciliation apart from someone or something dying. In the Old Testament, reconciliation was impossible without the sacrifice of an animal. In the New Testament, we see Old Testament typology become reality with the death of the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. There will never be true reconciliation between you and the person with whom you’re angry or from whom you’re estranged until you say, “I’m not going to grind my ax any longer. I’m not going to press my point any further. I’m not going to prove I’m right anymore. I’m just going to die.” The question is, will you? “But I’m innocent,” you say.
So was Jesus. “But I’m right.” Wasn’t He? The commandment He gave us is to die—to our pride, our complaints, our position, our proof. “What if I die?” you ask. “Does laying down my life and giving up my rights guarantee reconciliation?” Was everyone reconciled to Jesus? No. Not everyone is born again. Not everyone says, “Thank You, Lord, for laying down Your life for me.” When you love like Jesus, some will respond and there will be reconciliation. Others, however, will continue to spit and curse and mock—even as they did to Jesus as He was in the very act of dying for their sins. But if we are to love as Jesus loved, like Him, we’ll pray, “Father, forgive them. They just don’t know what they’re doing.” “By this kind of love shall all men know you are My disciples,” said Jesus, “—when you love like I do—when you love to the point of death.”
Jon Courson’s lays out a hard but powerful truth. But imagine if we actually love like Christ did, if we loved sacrificially, to the point of death. What if we loved our betrayer, the Judas in our lives. You might say Rob didn’t he say there is chance reconciliation could not happen? But I say what if it does? I like to say, sometimes you got to give a million dollars away to get one back. I would rather give everything in hopes of someone seeing what love actually is. Christ gave everything for us. Shouldn’t we give everything for Him? I mean in the end it’s all His anyways, even our lives. We just get to hold to it for a moment.
Most likely as you read someone came to mind. Someone who betrayed you. It might be time for reconciliation. Maybe it’s time to die to self and reach out to them. Maybe it’s time forgive to someone. Who knows you could regain a friend, a brother, a sister, a mother, a father. Or maybe you can just regain the peace of knowing you loved like Christ did.
To be honest I am not always the person how loves like this. But it convicted my heart and but I am going to give it a shot. If you are reading this I hope you do too. Maybe we can start simple and praying for that person. Something like, Lord bless them and show me how to love them.
Who knows what the Lord will do.
I hope this ministered to you in some way. I know it did for me. God bless you.