Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 1 John 2:7
How do you want to be known? Reflect on this question for a moment. Maybe you want to be known as someone who is kind, someone who entertains others and makes them laugh, someone who is successful. Whatever the case, we all want to be known for something. Did you realize that Scripture teaches exactly what followers of Jesus should be known for? Jesus Himself said in John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 16:33, NLT). Jesus teaches us that our love for others should be the thing that proves that we are followers of Christ. In our Bible study today, we are reminded that believers are to be known for their love.
"Dear friends," John writes in the book of 1 John, "I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather, it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. The old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before" (1 John 2:7). This verse is interesting because it begs the question if this command is not new, when did John's audience hear about this command before? We find the answer to this question in John's earlier book, the Gospel of John. John 13 records Jesus' last moments with His disciples. After He shared a meal with His disciples whom He had been living life with for the past three years, He said to them, "Now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another" (verse 34). As some of the last teaching moments took place, Jesus wanted his disciples to know the defining marker of His followers: love.
Friends, what was true that day with His disciples is still true today. When people observe us, our love should be the thing that defines us as followers of Jesus. Knowing this, you must ask yourself if your love for others defines you, could someone look at you and know you were a follower of Jesus based on how you love? Let's be people who fiercely love others. That kind of love, my friends, is contagious.
Is there someone in your life who is hard for you to love? Make an effort today to show them love. Pray for them, take them coffee, or give them a call to simply ask how they are doing. Determine today to show love, even when it is difficult.
Read John 13:31-38 (NLT)
As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once. Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?”
And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.”
“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.