Read: John 13:31-38
Do you ever see a group of people together and immediately identify them together? Think of a fan section at a sports event where everyone is wearing the same colors or a huddle of lawyers with briefcases and suits. Maybe you’ve seen a group of protestors carrying signs and marching together down the street or a choir who is singing in harmony as they travel along.
We like to categorize ourselves and others based on cues and behaviors like these. We wear our identity externally, allowing others to define us by given signals. Jesus also called His followers to have identifying markers so that everyone would know who they belonged to.
John 13 ends as Jesus discusses His impending departure from earth and what the disciples are to do in His absence. He knows He is about to be glorified through the cross and that God will be glorified through Him. In preparation in verses 34-35, He gives His disciples a “new commandment”: Love one another. He says, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This quality is what Jesus wants His people to be known for. Love is supposed to be the prime characteristic of followers of Jesus. It should be so apparent that everyone can distinguish it from the rest of the world. Think about groups of Christians that you know. How many of them would you say are known for their love above all else?
1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Further, verses 15-16 of the same chapter says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God… whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.” The incredible truth is that Jesus is the one who shows us what love is. As He does, we come to be in God and God in us. Love is Jesus’ command because it takes us straight to the heart of the Father.
Is love the primary characteristic you display as a follower of Jesus? How does Jesus teach you to love like He does? Reread John 12-13 take notes on how Jesus loved those around Him.