By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
What Is a Disciple?
The word “disciple” comes from the Greek word “mathētēs” and means “a learner, a pupil”; and it is where we get the word “discipline” from. When we learn something specific, it is called a discipline, like the discipline of mathematics or philosophy. So someone who is a disciple is a pupil, a learner, or a student of Jesus Christ, Who is the Master of us all. When Jesus said “by this” everyone will know you’re one of His disciples, what was “by this” referring to? The “this” Jesus spoke about was that we would have a love for one another as He had for us (John 13:34). It would be the same type of love that Jesus had for the disciples. “All people” could see as a way of knowing that we are His disciples if we have this same kind of love for each other.
What Does It Look Like?
Love is not what you feel; it is what you do. Love is a verb more than a feeling. Jesus’ love was displayed on the cross in His death for those who were still wicked sinners (Romans 5:8) and who were still His enemies at the time that He died for them (Romans 5:10). That is true love, not a wishy-washy type of sentimental love but an action-oriented love that does something for someone. If we say we love God but hate our brother, we are only deceiving ourselves (1 John 4:20). Or if we say we love Christ but don’t do what He commands, we’re actually a liar (1 John 2:4). Strong words, yes; however, those are not my words but from the Word of God. We might say we love our brother or sister; but if they are in need and we shut our eyes and ears to their needs, how in the world can the love of God really be in us (1 John 3:17)?
Who Are the “All People” That Will Know?
It appears that when Jesus said “all people” will know we’re His disciples if we love one another, He meant that it must not be exclusive to the church. The word for “all” in Greek is “pas” and means “each, every, any, all,” and “everyone.” So that must mean those inside the church but especially those outside of the household of faith. When the church loves one another like that, we draw people to the church by showing Christ living in us. How else will all these people know what Christ is like unless we show them by our love for one another?
A Closing Prayer
Great Father in heaven, please help me to love others like You loved us before we were even Your children. I need Your Spirit to help me do that because I can’t do this on my own. I pray for Your help in the mighty name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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