John 13:34-35 - "A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
In some of Jesus' final teachings to his disciples, he gives them the command of John 13:34-35. The command to love one another was not in and of itself new, for the Old Testament had dictated to love one's neighbor's as themselves. However, the standard had changed. First, the manner by which the disciples are to love one another is with Christ's love. If you look at the way in which Christ loved on earth, you notice a couple of things. First, he loved with humility. His relationships with others did not consist of what he could gain from them or the recognition he could earn, but he rather what he could give. A great example of this is seen when Jesus washes his disciples' feet (John 13:1-20). The second way in which Christ loved is that He loved sacrificially. He placed the needs of others above the needs of himself. Ultimately, he made the greatest sacrifice for mankind by giving his life on the cross.
The second difference between the new command to love and the old is that in the new command, Jesus calls his disciples to a love within the community of believers. Earlier, the command was given to love your neighbors and your enemies. Now, this is a command within the community of believers. It is a call to a lifestyle of love that is unmatched by anything that had been seen before that time. The result of their love for one another is that the world will know that they are Christ's disciples.
The charge is given with a condition. The world will know Christ's disciples if they love one another. While there might be exceptions to the case, this is to be the standard that is likely to happen in the future. This principle seems easy enough to attain. Yet, how often is it that arguments arise within the body of believers? Most often the battles the Church wages are within itself. If we truly loved one another the way Christ loved, the impact on the world could be remarkable.
The challenge for today is that: think about the areas in which you are not loving your fellow disciples the way in which Christ loved. Is there another believer that you have a grudge against and you have let your pride get in the way of the relationship? Is there someone who you are taking advantage of that you could be serving instead? Our testimony comes from our love for each other as the body of believers? How can you better love your fellow disciples and therefore show the world that you are a follower of Christ? What is one step you can take to better love your fellow believer? You may never know the impact of your love.