(Part 3 of 3)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”-John 13:34-35.
The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:8 that whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. According to this passage love is who God is, not simply what He does. Knowing this we can surmise that those who consider themselves to be disciples will, like Jesus, be recognized by their love one for another.
This type of love is characterized by a devoted concern that sacrificially seeks to promote the highest good of others. It not as much an emotion as it is a decision. It is a decision to seek the best interests of those around us. Loving one another, however, does not mean that we must embrace immorality or be silent regarding it. Often times, the most loving thing we can do for someone is to acknowledge their sinful behavior in order to promote the greater good in their lives.
Another hallmark of a true disciple is found in Luke 6:40:
“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
True disciples become like their teacher. They want more than to be knowledgeable about Jesus, instead they want to be like Him; bearing a strong resemblance to their teacher in attitude, values, and actions.
This pursuit to become like Jesus will ultimately lead a disciple to become a disciple maker. Matthew 28:18-20 states:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
True disciples make disciples! At any given time Jesus was surrounded by curious crowds, who did not last when the teaching became difficult; followers, who made a profession of faith but only followed at their convenience; and the committed, who were willing to leave everything, take up their cross, and follow him daily.
Jesus was clear from Matthew 28 that he is not seeking to gather a crowd or build a following; He is looking for disciples.