A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
How do others know you are a Christian? Is it the Bible on your coffee table, fish symbol on the back of your car, sitting in church on Sunday morning, praying over your meals, listening to Christian radio or maybe because your parents were Christians? Nothing wrong with any of those except maybe the fish symbol (I’ve seen how some of you drive). Did you know Jesus told his disciples there is one way that others will know you are a disciple of Jesus? Just one. Love for one another.
In John 13, we see Jesus’ earthly ministry coming to a close as he gathers his disciples together in the upper room for some final words. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you”, and I can see the disciples’ stopping what they were doing to look directly at Jesus. After all, the first ten were given to Moses about fifteen centuries before so these don’t happen every day. Jesus continues, “that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” They didn’t know it yet, but Jesus was a short time away from showing them the extent of his love. He was going to die. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:8, that God showed his love for us in that while we were enemies of God, he died for us.
Jesus continues, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This powerful yet simple statement reduces the sum of who we are as Christians to this one thing — love. Not love for stuff, family, spouses, friends, but love for one another. The way people will know you are a Christian is your love for others. This isn’t a suggestion and it isn’t confined to just lovable people. This is a command that incorporates every class, category, genre, breed and race of persons.
This is important to understand — loving one another as Christ loved us is a command and not a feeling. Feelings change; Christ’s love for us never changes and our love for others should not change, judge, waiver or discriminate. Love is not a feeling but a choice. It's not what we feel but what we do. Do you love those God has put in your life? Do you love those God has brought to your church? Christ died for us when we were unlovable, sinful, disobedient, and enemies of him and that is how we are to love others. We aren't commanded to love just those who are easy to love, but we are to love those who are the most difficult to love, whether we feel like it or not because that’s what Jesus did for us. Let us LOVE one another.