They Will Know…
John 13.34–35 ESV
34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I’m the oldest of 3 children, so my “big brother” was my first–cousin, Todd. Growing up, Todd was fearless (and still is today). He would do all the wild and crazy things on the farm that I just didn’t have the courage to do. His spirit seemed death–defying. He’d hop from riverbank to riverbank, swim in the rushing waters, jump the highest fences. If it was a bad idea, it didn’t matter, because Todd had already done it and made you wish you had done it, too.
At the end of the day, Todd was really showing me what was possible. I tended to let my fear of the unknown or my lack of self-confidence get in the way. But Todd would just take off running and say, “C’mon, Whit! Let’s go!” And I would go running after him.
Most of the time, people are waiting to see what is possible. As Christians, our witness is what proves most of our faith to be real and true. And in our text this morning, Jesus is letting His disciples know that their love for one another is what will prove God to the world. What this essentially means is that if we love each other the way Jesus loves us, then all the grace, peace and authority that is wrapped up in Jesus will be wrapped up in us. This is why living the Christian life is so important. Our daily walk changes and transforms us, yes, but ultimately our daily walk is what tells the world what is possible in the realm of faith.
Like my cousin Todd, the world needs to see you weather the storms of life and overcome through grace the hardships that life bears down on us. When we love one another, we are being Jesus to one another. Everyone wins when we are living like Jesus every step of the way.
Over the last 4 months, I have been teaching the confirmation kids about faith, Methodism, and Church membership. We’ve talked about serious issues, big theological words, and the adult decision that they now have as they accept the responsibility to make their faith their own. But what all of this boils down to is actually living out the things they have learned. All of the technical stuff will sink in and make sense as they walk with it and make it a part of their hearts and lives. These young students will be walking witnesses for the Lord, if they will simply love one another with the grace that God provides. But they and the rest of the world will best experience God’s presence and grace if we will love them with God’s love and show God to them. These students need to see us go first so that they will have the confidence to take the necessary steps.
The disciples were going to have quite a task before them after Jesus left, to carry on all the work that Jesus has started. But we forget that they were 100% successful, because here we are today, worshipping God as families and a community. All their hard work and the work of the saints before us have led us to this place, and it is now our turn. It is us who sits at the last supper, hearing the words of Christ to love one another just as Christ has loved us. The world will know that we are His because we have love, Godly love, for one another.
And to love one another is a serious and life-changing thing. To love another means to set an example of Christ in all things; to forgive others their sins and failures; to teach and preach, worship and pray; and a whole host of other disciplines that reveal God to us and others.
So let us end here, with the challenge to reveal Jesus to the world through our love for one another. Remember that people may need to see you go first; they may need to see you defy the odds by doing the things that they didn’t know were possible or were waiting for someone else to go first. Show them, prove God through a life with God and a life lived for God. Amen.