Posts Tagged John 13: 34 – 35

Christ’s Disciple

John 13: 34 – 35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

This is a familiar bit of scripture. It is called the new commandment, the one commandment, or the love commandment. It is another thing too. It is the entire discipleship class. Or let us say it is the answer to the final exam. If you love one another, if you demonstrate the Jesus kind of love for one another, then you have passed the discipleship class. 

Much is written about discipleship and many churches even offer discipleship classes. It seems to me that Jesus offered a discipleship class too; it was the observance of his life, of course, but he sums up the whole thing with one little sentence. It all boils down to love. I sure wish he had said the evidence of a true disciple is faithfulness, diligence or perseverance in the faith, but he didn’t. The only way anyone will identify me as a disciple of Christ is if they see the love of God issuing from me. The apostle Paul said that without love, anything else, everything else is meaningless (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3). He got it. He understood Jesus’ message.

Stating it a different way would simply be to say that Christianity is: “loving one another as Jesus loves us.” That’s it. You can take every book on theology ever written and boil it down to that one sentence. There is your entire thesis in one sentence. I wish it was as easy to live it as to say it. 

The Apostle John said it this way, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4: 20 NIV). In other words, if I do not love my brother, then I am not a disciple of Christ. To be more accurate though, Jesus said that we must love one another as he loves us. That is to say, if I do not love others as Jesus loves us then I am no disciple of his; not a follower of the way (Jesus); not even really a Christian which means one who follows Christ.

What kind of love is this then? “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3: 16).  It is a sacrificial love. It is others centered, putting the needs of others above my wishes. That is a tall bill to fill and I cannot do it in my own strength. In fact, it is in the surrender of my strength that I can do all things. But guess what, Jesus couldn’t do it in his own strength either. That is why he sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. None of us can do what God has called us to do in our own strength that is why God empowered us through His abiding presence living inside of us. We must live through the presence of God in our hearts. Jesus allowed the father’s compassion to flow through him. We don’t have to be super heroes. We just have to allow our abiding in Christ and his dwelling in us to be expressed. We learn to let go of our desperate grasp and to let God flow out of our inner being. It is a hard thing to do when we are still wedded to our flesh but as we learn to live out of our spirits we will find it increasingly easy and joyful. When Jesus told us to live this way it was because he had a revelation from God that we could. His early disciples did and we can too. As we are transformed through the renewing of our minds we discover a radical trust of God inside of us and that trust empowers us to let go and live beyond the means of mortal man. We will soar on wings as eagles and nothing, by any means, shall be impossible to us. It is the power of love.