John 13:34-35 (NIV) 34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus had just given His disciples a great illustration on serving each other. He told them that they were to serve each other as He had served them. How can you really serve a person from the heart if you do not love them from the heart? The competition that the world engenders is based on self-love. It was what they were expressing when they fought about who would be first in the coming Kingdom. In that expression, they were no different from those in the world. How can anyone see the good news we have to bring when they see our lives are no different from theirs?
In the Old Testament, we have the instruction to love our neighbor as our self. How is this then a new command? First, it is not restricted to my neighbor. Jesus expounded on that in Luke 10. Second, the manner in which we are to love is that of Jesus’ love for us. It is not optional in either Testament. It is a command. To refuse to do so is to refuse to obey God.
This one characteristic is to distinguish us from the world. Think about it. How many people do you know that express a love toward you strong enough to give their life? That is certainly a rare thing in this world. The contrast is the world’s selfishness and self-seeking. If you were to see the type of love Jesus has for us in a person, you would certainly notice that he or she had something very different. This is the chief form of evangelism that Jesus had in mind. It is easy to find any number of other forms of evangelism that cost much less, but will they know we are truly disciples if we do not pay the price of genuine love? All forms of evangelism must be accompanied with Jesus’ love in order to have the recognition that it is from above.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love with Your love.
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