I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. If you have love for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples. John 13:34–35
We didn’t need to be able to read the name on the back of Fernando Valenzuela’s uniform to identify him as the current Dodger pitcher. We could tell by his signature windup style. Michael Jordan’s famous tongue-out slam dunk move made him unique among the NBA players of his day. Ever since then, it’s been easy to recognize those who love them because they imitate their playing styles. If we love others who follow Jesus in the same way Jesus loved his first disciples, we’ll be easily recognizable as well. The apostle Paul, who urged us to imitate Jesus, called it “walking in love.” What did Jesus do for them that demonstrated how much he valued his original disciples—and us? He gave himself up for us so that he might make us actually valuable to him; just as a husband gives of himself for the purpose of making his wife glorious, “having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing … holy and without blemish.” But he also did smaller, less dramatic acts of love, such as washing their feet. In doing this he set an example of how to serve the needs of the moment, demonstrating their value by his humility, so that both he and they could enjoy participating in the grace that God supplies. We can identify with Jesus’ love this way too.
Gracious God, grant me wisdom to express my love appropriately as I follow Jesus in the obedience of faith.