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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 8, 2004

But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.
John 13:34-35 (CEV*)

The gospels show the disciples as people who had a sense of the importance of Jesus, but who often failed to understand his message. They were also subject to other human failings, such as vying with each other over rank and falling asleep when they were asked to pray with Him. Not long after Jesus gave them this command, they would largely disappear upon his arrest, with Peter staying close but denying Him three times.

Despite their many failings, Jesus never abandoned them. His love for them overflowed, and was able to forgive much. No matter how much they disappointed Him, He continued to regard them as His own.

Here Jesus sets up the way He loved the disciples as a model for how they should love each other. It can be assumed that the model was not just for this small band, but for all of His followers in all places and all times. This love is to be our mark, so strong and vital that it will show everyone that we are followers of Jesus Christ.

As we associate with other followers of Jesus, we will find that they often fail to truly understand the message and have various foibles and failings. Likewise, others will find the same about us. It is easy to get exasperated and impatient with other believers, but we need to remember Jesus' command and always be filled with love for them.

It is well for each of us to consider from time to time how we are doing at fulfilling this command of Jesus. Am I loving other believers, including those I find most exasperating, like Jesus loves me?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 15-May-2004 21:27:24 EDT