The Trademark Of A Christian
Topic: Gospel of John Passage: John 13:31–13:38
In one of His most profound statements during the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus said the best way to show unbelievers that you’re a Christian is not by loving Him or by loving them but by loving fellow believers, which is the distinguishing mark of a true Christian.
1. GOD’S EXALTATION (vv. 31-33)
Jesus knew that Judus’ betrayal would trigger the chain of events that would lead to His sacrificial death and that this would bring glory to God the Father (Daniel 7:13). Jesus also knew that God the Father would in turn glorify Him after His death and resurrection. In the same way, we should ask God how He intends to use us each day to glorify Himself (Philippians 2:9-11).
2. CHRIST’S INJUNCTION (vv. 34-35)
The disciples were rather distressed to learn that Jesus was going away to a place where they could not come (heaven). Jesus thus wished to comfort them and encourage them to remain united in the impending chaos and instructed them on what to do to make the biggest impact on the unsaved world after His departure. He commanded them to demonstrate their love for one another, just as they had been instructed to love God (Leviticus 19:18) and their enemies (Matthew 22). This command was different however, for He was now commanding His disciples to love one another and their fellow believers (John 13:1; 15:12; Ephesians 5:2). This is the greatest way to demonstrate to the world that we are Christians. This is because you cannot love a Christian unless you are a Christian yourself. That is, you cannot love a Christian apart from the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.
3. PETER’S HUMILIATION (vv. 36-38)
Although Peter did not know where Jesus was going, or why He was going there, he nonetheless wanted to go to be with Jesus at that very moment. Most of us can relate to Peter in that we are impatient when it comes to our desire to be with the Lord in Heaven. But it is pride and overconfidence that drives this desire in us. Jesus recognized this and issued a response (v. 38) that both humbled and quieted Peter.
Some practical ways to show love to other Christians:
An encouraging word; a brief phone call; some act of service; a holy kiss, etc.
Thank God for the privilege of being a witness for Jesus Christ here on earth. Ask Him to help you sincerely and fervently love other Christians and use that to make a powerful impact on unbelievers in your home, at work, at school, etc.