On the night He was betrayed, Jesus sat around the table with 11 of His disciples, the aftermath of the Passover meal in their bellies. And He talked with them – treasured conversations, some of Christ’s last words to them before He was taken & crucified.
Something He said caught their attention: “A new commandment I give to you…” New? That HAD to be significant… & I can imagine each of the disciples sitting up a little bit, leaning in closer to make sure not to miss a word. And Jesus said:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35 English Standard Version
Love one another… using Christ’s own example as the blueprint on what REAL love looked like. Loving others was so significant that Christ identified it would be LOVE that would identify people as His disciples. Not their words. Or charisma. Or how much they knew. Love. Lived out, in the real world, with real people.
Fast forward about 60 years, & the now ancient disciple/apostle John wrote to a new generation of disciples, sharing with them what Christ had shared with him so many years ago – in a nutshell, “God is light. God is love. As His disciples, we show we belong to Him by living in light. And living in love.” John is ‘discipling’ his readers – he is passing on what Christ said & did in his life. Sharing the areas that the Holy Spirit had written on his heart. Speaking plainly about some of the most important things that Christians can BE & DO. Without the LIGHT & LOVE evident in our lives, we’re lost. John wrote:
“My dear friends, I’m not writing anything new here. This is the oldest commandment in the book, and you’ve known it from day one. It’s always been implicit in the Message you’ve heard. On the other hand, perhaps it is new, freshly minted as it is in both Christ and you—the darkness on its way out and the True Light already blazing!Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.” 1John 2:7-11, THE MESSAGE
It’s the same for us – we are called to BE disciples & MAKE disciples. We make disciples by example, by living a Christ-following life & by our words/actions, where we intentionally share with others that which Christ has worked in us.