John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
In his book The Mark of the Christian, Francis Schaeffer talks about various symbols Christians will wear, whether it be jewelry, slogans on their shirts, lapel pins or the like. But there is a much better sign or mark every believer must wear.
In this section of John (chapters 13-17), Jesus focuses upon His disciples, preparing them for His impending departure. Judas had just left them to plot Jesus’ arrest, and now He turns to the remaining disciples, His faithful eleven, to encourage and exhort them in some essential matters. Scholars have labeled these chapters the Upper Room Discourse. Perhaps more appropriately, however, the section should be called Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, since He is about to leave them to return to Heaven. A man’s final words are among His most meaningful and significant, and this is certainly true with Christ. With Judas now gone, Jesus introduces love as a central and recurring theme through chapters 13-17. Love is viewed from several different angles: (1) God’s love for His Son, and vice versa , (2) The love of God and Jesus toward the disciples, (3) The love of the disciples toward God and Jesus, and (4) The love of the disciples toward one another. Consider some examples:
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
John 14:30-31 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.
John 15:9-10 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
John 15:17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
When the Lord mentions something just one time, it’s significant, but when He mentions the same thing over and over again, we start to get the impression that this is more than just simply “important,” it is absolutely crucial! Schaeffer talks about love for one another as “the badge of Christianity.” Unfortunately, Christians have not always presented a pretty picture to the world. Too often they have failed to show the beauty of love, the beauty of Christ, and the holiness of God. The world has turned away. This is tragic. Is there then no way to make the world look again — this time at true Christianity? Must Christians continue to stand with arms folded, persisting in their old, sweet ways, presenting to men a tarnished image of God — a shattered body of Christ? It is time for us to go back and take a closer look at this section of Scripture to remind us of the new commandment: love one another! There is no more distinguishing mark for the true Christian than this! (see Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian).