By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
The love that we have for one another is the greatest sign that we belong to Christ. I do not know of another religion that places so much emphasis on love. There are other religions that place great emphasis on kindness, on being good, but Christianity focuses on this reality of love.
The fact is that this verse is plucked from a larger context in which the love that we are supposed to have for one another is lifted to a higher level. This love is lifted to the level that Jesus Christ has loved us. Carefully read Christ’s words:
“A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
We must recognize that people throughout the millennia have loved one another. The commandment was not strictly to love one another, but to love one another as Christ has loved us. Christ loved us, the human beings, so much that He left his heavenly glory and came down to this earth. He loved his own so much that He willingly went to the cross. He loved us so much that he sent the Holy Spirit. He loved us so much that He is interceding on our behalf before his Heavenly Father. He loved us so much that He promised to make a place for us in heavens. He loved us so much that He promised us to come back for us.
We are asked to do an almost impossible task – to love as Christ has loved us. However, while it looks almost impossible, Christ also told us that what looks impossible with men is not impossible with God. In fact, God delights in doing the impossible and enabling us to continue to love one another as Jesus Christ has loved us.
Practicing this love in our homes, in our churches, in our communities, in our countries demonstrates that we are the disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a person that wants to imitate his master, and by imitating this love that Christ has for me, I let everyone know that I belong to Jesus. Jesus is my Savior, Jesus is my Master, Jesus is my Lover, Jesus is the Lord of my life.
I pray that you and I will be able to exhibit more of this Christ-like love. The world needs to know Christ, the world needs to know what Christianity is all about and one of the surest ways to do this is by loving one another as Christ has loved us.