November 6 – New Distinctive Trait

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are 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 (ESV)

The word for commandment in this verse could also be translated ‘precept.’ The people of the time when Jesus was on earth understood the word and John uses it to identify three connections. It identified a legal order issued by the Sanhedrin or Jewish Supreme court¹; It also identified a charge or instruction Jesus received from the Father²; And it identified a commandment given by Jesus to his disciples³. A legal order is issued by men who may or may not have a warm, personal interest in those who are required to obey it. The charge or instruction given by the Father to His Son; from the Sender in his love to the Sent One. Therefor this precept is a rule, a new commandment from Jesus. It is illustrated by his own life and example, it becomes a directive of conduct and attitude of how His disciples, behave toward all people. To Christ, to one another, and to the world, a genuine, deep-seated and self-sacrificing love for one another is the distinctive trait of the Christian. It is by this that all others will recognize that we belong to Christ and no other deity.* 


¹John 11:57
²John 10:18; 12:49 -50; 14:31
³John 13:34; 14:15, 21; 15:10, 12

[*] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 2:253.

February 16 – Letting a Bit of Jesus Rub Off On Us

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13 (NASB)

One day, Peter and John were in the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem. Only days since the Holy Spirit had come down on the Apostles at Pentecost. They had been continuing to witness to the Jews in Jerusalem and preaching he resurrection of Jesus Christ. This sermon by Peter, the second one recorded, came after instantly healing a man who had been lame from his birth. A large crowd gathered and listened to what Peter had to say. Peter and John were both from Galilee – a region that was not recognized as producing many educated intellectuals. All the smart folks lived and were educated in Jerusalem. So the folks were amazed at what Peter said and how it was said. But many had seen and heard Jesus. There was something about them that reminded this crowd of people of Jesus. They talked and taught like Jesus. They acted like Him and that was noticed. They were able to heal like Jesus did. These disciples had been with Jesus and people could tell the difference. Isn’t that what we want to happen in our lives? Live close to His Word and people will see that we have been with Him.