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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Identification, Please!"

March 23, 2004

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Today’s Reading: John 13:18-38 & Psalm 29

“A new command I give you: Love one another.” John 13:34

A man talked with a pastor about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, as opposed to being simply a member who makes up the congregation. The man looked confused, then blurted out: “But, Pastor, my wife never wears make-up!”

Is that how others know we are Christ’s disciples—by what we wear or don’t wear? As always, we had better go to His Word for the answer! “A new command I give you: Love one another. ... By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

What kind of love is Jesus talking about? Consider two examples from Scripture. First, look at His servant. The apostles nicknamed a certain follower of Christ Barnabas, because Barnabas means “one who encourages.” And he did just that. Barnabas spoke up for the newly converted Paul when Paul first approached the disciples. Also, he gave young John Mark a second chance, despite Paul’s vehement objection. We know that Barnabas was a disciple of Jesus. How? Because he showed love to others.

Second, look at His Word. Jesus often spoke to huge crowds. People liked what He said at first, but then started having problems with what He said. Instead of asking what He meant, however, they just walked away. His disciples found many of His sayings difficult to understand, but they stayed. I wonder … if Peter, James, and John had decided His Word was too hard and walked away, where might the church be today? But Peter, James, and John were disciples of Jesus. We know because they kept His Word.

What about us? By our love for others and by our love for His Word, the world will have no doubts about who—and whose—we are!

Prayer
Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with true love for others and love for His Word, so that we may live as disciples of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Response
Are you easily identified as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 34-36    Luke 1:57-80

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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