By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
The context of our reading today is that Jesus utters these words following two very profound events. John 13 tells us about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and saying to his followers “I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15) The second event surrounds the actions of Judas, we read, “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night”
I find it striking that after Judas’ actions Jesus’ response is to issue a “New” command to love. Jesus clearly says that the way the world will know we belong to Him is through our demonstrated love for one another. I know, I know, we talked about that on Sunday. Jesus message about love means that, despite our differences, we must learn to love one another; we must be for one another. Rather than allowing
our differences to be polarizing, loving one another means we find common ground. And we can always find common groundat the foot of the cross.
It is also important that we show love to those who are far from God. People will be drawn to you, and to God, when you authentically love them, especially those with whom you differ. Loving those with whom we agree or are partial to is the easy part. It is a part of the human condition to love and to want to be loved. Reality is it is easier to love those who are more loving and lovable. Loving the rest of the people we encounter is a much harder proposal to carry out. That is why we need to remember that the same Spirit that drove the mission among the early followers of Jesus is the same Spirit that is at work in us. We need God’s presence in us by the Holy Spirit, we need to let the Holy Spirit do his work in us and through us.
Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev'ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do. AMEN
Who is someone currently in your life that you feel challenged to love? Pray for them every day for the next seven days and ask God to help you see them as He sees them. Then intentionally act to show them God’s love.