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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.”—John 13:34–35 (PHILLIPS)
Do you have a calling card? According to TheFreeDictionary.com, this American idiom means, “A special skill, talent, or trait that sets an individual apart from others.” For example, NBA superstar Stephen Curry’s calling card is his ability to drain three pointers from basically anywhere with relative ease. It’s what he’s known for. I would say that one of the apostle Paul’s calling cards was asking questions in his letters that he then would answer with “Certainly not” or “by no means” (depending on your translation).
In today’s verse, Jesus emphatically declares what the calling card of His disciples is supposed to be: LOVE. There is no qualifier or asterisk; He doesn’t add anything else to it. He doesn’t give prerequisites or exceptions. If you claim to be His disciple, He commands you to be known to all the world by your love for one another “just as I have loved you.”
He calls this a new command. Why does He do so? Was this really a new command? Didn’t they already have, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31 NKJV)? Yes, they did. But this command went above and beyond that to something entirely different and much deeper. Now, we were not just being commanded to love others as we love ourselves, which, admittedly is a lot . . . but to love others as Christ loved us!
The love that Jesus displayed is so much greater, deeper, and more profound than anyone else could. It’s a sacrificial, compassionate, empathetic, devoted, bold, unwavering, and unconditional. This love caused Jesus to leave His heavenly throne and empty Himself “by assuming the form of a slave” (Philippians 2:7). This love is what drove Him to the cross, to suffer and die in our place. And it’s also what drew people in droves to Him. It’s what attracted the poor, oppressed, outcast, downtrodden, broken, needy, and “sinful” as well as the rich, religious, and the powerful to come hear Him and see what He was all about.
You see, friends, when His love is our calling card, it not only enriches our lives as we imitate our Master, but it also draws people to Him! It makes us irresistible. It’s not our knowledge of Scripture, it’s not our doctrine or fancy words . . . it’s His love (1 Corinthians 13). So today, I want to ask you . . . what is the Church known for today? Is it love? What are you known for in your sphere of influence?
DIG: Read John 13, 1 Corinthians 13, and the Book of 1 John this week. They’re powerful passages about the love of Christ that we are to embrace and imitate.
DISCOVER: Why is it so important that we be known by our love?
DO: Take a poll. Ask friends, family, coworkers, and classmates what is the calling card of the Christian today. Ask them what your calling card is. It’s important to know how people perceive you and the Church as we seek to share the gospel and draw people to Jesus.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.