Have you ever heard a statement like it?
“They shall know us by our love…”
“The world shall know us by our love…”
Statements and declarations just like these two derive from the Gospel of John 13:15. Surely, “The World will know you are My disciples by the Love you have for one another.” The Apostle and Disciple John recorded this statement of Jesus’ own words. This statement was recorded during one of Jesus’ final discussions to His disciples and all the followers that would come from their witnessing and discipleship, through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a message that we would love each other so the world will know we are of the Way, the Truth and the Life. He didn’t say, though, he hopes we follow this lifestyle of love, nor that he simply left the decision up to us, but that he commanded it…
Through the correct context, we see in the previous verse that Jesus said to his disciples a “new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” The beauty of this command for true followers of Christ is not found simply in this command, but in the word that Jesus uses for love in these two verses (John 13:34-35). Here in these two verses the word for love is actually Agape. This is the covenant love of God which brings sacrifice and death to living for ourselves.
The definition of Agape is “To have a strong non-sexual affection and love for a person and their good as understood by God’s moral character; especially characterized by a willing forfeiture of rights or privileges in another person’s behalf.”
In choosing this word, Jesus set the bar for our love for ourselves: Die to self. Forfeit your rights and privileges. Commanded to love as he loved us, because this is how the world will know we are His disciples.
Jesus humbled himself with agape love. He forfeited his Glory and Standing as the King on the Throne over Creation. He forfeited his rights to sinlessness, though He himself never sinned in life or death, willingly taking on our sin in His innocence. He forfeited much for the glory of the Triune God. He willingly took on the earthly flesh of Man, becoming a created being, and walked amongst us, so that we could be reconciled to God through Him. He walked amongst his enemies and loved them with Agape, even opening their eyes to eternal salvation through him.
This is a love that Christendom has forgotten. This is a love we need to embrace. We need to love our enemies like He loved us…
In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus spells out how we are treat our enemies. Here He goes again with that beautiful word, Agape. Forfeit your rights… forfeit your privileges… love your enemy with great sacrifice. Aim for the perfection found in Christ and live like Christ to the best of your ability.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus commands us to love our political rival camps. He commands us to love our annoying neighbors. He calls us to love persecutors. He calls us to love followers of Islam. He calls us to love all races, tribes and creeds of Man. He calls us to love those in the world. You do not have to love what your enemies do, but you do have to love your enemy. Beloved Christians, please do not walk away from your computer or device without prayerfully considering following God’s command to love not only yourself, God and the Church, but also your enemies.
Genuine Disciples of Jesus will be known for their love of their enemies.
The Light shines brightest in the darkness…
For the Glory of God,
Daddy Time Theology.
 Logos Bible Software’s Bible Sense Lexicon