By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35 NIV
There is an expression: Charity begins at home. Obviously, Jesus believed this. These were some of the last words He spoke to His disciples–after Judas left the room–so we know it is a vitally important lesson He wanted them to learn, a command He expected them to obey.
I’ve never really used commentaries before, but I went to Matthew Henry’s Commentary this time and found he had much to say about this passage. One point he made was this: Since Jesus had told them that they were to love as He had loved them, we need to know how He loved them. Matthew Henry provides a list. Since I am “you,” the one He expects to show love for my brothers and sisters in Him, I read this as a checklist.
* He spoke kindly to them.
* He concerned Himself heartily for them, and for their welfare.
* He instructed them.
* He counseled them.
* He comforted them.
* He prayed with them and for them.
* He vindicated them when they were accused.
* He took their part when they were run down.
* He publicly owned them to be dearer to Him than His mother, or sister, or brother.
* He reproved them for what was amiss.
* He compassionately bore with their failings.
* He excused them.
* He made the best of them.
* He passed by many an oversight.
* He washed their feet.
* He lay down His life for them.
If this were a test, would I pass?