JOHN 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: If I was arrested for being a Christian, what evidence would they have to convict me? Would it be the Bibles that line the shelves of my home? Would it be the sticker I have on the back of my car? Would it simply be that they have heard me say “Lord, Lord”? The Bible is clear, not every one who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
- “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)
So what then is the evidence that would convict me as a true Christian? Jesus made it clear in these verses. The key evidence that we are a true disciple of Jesus Christ is love! It is not simply love undefined. It is love for one another. It is the outflow of the first and Great Commandment – it is loving our neighbor as ourself.
It is a love that transcends our natural love. It is the love of Christ flowing through us to others. Jesus illustrated this love to His disciples just before He made this statement. Following the last supper with His disciples, Jesus tied a towel around His waist, and washed His disciples feet. It was a gesture that Peter objected to, and all of the disciples did not understand. And as they stood there somewhat dumbfounded, Jesus said,
- “…Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17 NKJV)
To manifest the type of love that Jesus is calling us to, the type of love that is the true evidence of faith, we must come to a place of humility. We must lay down all of our “rights” and get on our knees and be willing to serve others. We must understand that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we have but one Lord – Jesus Christ! This is a love that does not make sense to the world, and gives testimony that we are the true disciples of Jesus Christ. This love is not only reserved for those we love, but is extended to the unlovely, and even to our enemies. It is this love that enabled Stephen to forgive and pray for those who were stoning him to death. This is the love that convicts us as followers of Jesus Christ!
Lord, how often my life reflects Peter when he cried – “…You shall never wash my feet!…” (John 13:8 NKJV). Give me the grace to love as You have loved, to serve as You have served. This morning I lay down my own inability to love, and come to You in humility and surrender! Transform me by the power of Your love so that I can truly be a vessel of Your love to others!
In Jesus Name!