John 13:31-35 — That the world may know

With Judas now gone, Jesus begins his final address to his disciples before the cross.  And to this bickering, prideful group, he said,

A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (34-35)

This was the group that even up to a few hours before, were arguing about who was greatest among them.  Who were too proud to take the role of a servant to wash each other’s feet.

And so Jesus wanted to drive home what was really important to him:  that they love one another.

Notice he doesn’t say, “Love everyone around you,” although most certainly he wanted them to do that too.

He said, “Love each other.”

Why?

Because that’s how people will know we are truly his followers.

Yet even today, the church is so lacking in love.  We fight among ourselves, as prideful and bickering as the disciples were.  And when people walk into the church, they start to think, “Is this what followers of Jesus are like?  Is this what Jesus is like?  If so, I want nothing of it.”

I remember walking into a church once, and for some reason, the worship leader wasn’t leading worship.  Another guy, who was just a beginner, was up there struggling to lead the worship.  The worship leader, meanwhile, was just sitting in the back stone-faced.  And the tension in that room was utterly palpable.  I later found out that he had just had a falling out with one of the leaders just prior to my arrival.

The sad thing about it all?  A visitor came that day.  And I think she noticed it all.  She never did come back, so far as I know.

If we can’t learn to love the people in the church, how can we love the people outside of it?  And if we act just like the people outside of the church, how in the world are they ever going to see Jesus in us?

How about you?  You can’t change the other people inside of the church and make them more loving.  But you can shape your own attitude with God’s help.  How are you responding to those in church around you?

Are you looking down on others?  Sniping at others?  Tearing them down?  Grumbling about their shortcomings?  Or are you approaching them with the same love that Jesus approached you?

The next time you go to church, or even as you go to church today, think on these words.  Meditate on them.  And ask God to help you live them.

A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (34-35)

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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