People are known more often than not by the lives that they live.  This is true both individually and in the company that they keep or groups associated with.  For instance, we have a several groups of Optimists within our own community who can be counted on to help promote an atmosphere of optimism, especially in areas of youth programs.  In the immediate area of Clinton we have no less than two dozen formally recognized groups who meet specifically for religious purposes.  It would be safe to presume that those gathering within these groups do so in keeping with their understanding of what God has indicated in His word.  But what do we know these people by?  How do we see one another in view of God’s teaching, specifically the teaching by His own Son, Jesus?

In John 13:34, we read in the teaching of the Master Teacher, that He has given a new commandment.  Not a new suggestion or a new idea, but a new commandment that we are to love one another.  In this context, of course, we see Jesus is addressing His disciples indicating that those who would follow Jesus would submit to this teaching by having and demonstrating a genuine love for one another.  We are to put the best interests of others ahead of our own and seek their well being first.

But, what purpose does this serve other than obedience to God’s teaching?   A theme found in the Gospel of John is that we will know several things, the most prominent being that Jesus was the Son of God.  Knowledge of who were Jesus’ disciples would be evident as well…  Jesus continued in His teaching in John 13:35 that “all men would know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  The question that begs an answer from us who claim to be His disciples would be “do all men know that we are Jesus’ disciples due to our love for one another” or simply by our own testimony?  What a tragedy it would be to discover this answer on Judgment Day!  Does your love for one another declare your discipleship of Christ or does its absence provide ample doubt? 

Copyright © 2005, Nolan P. Rutter

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