I asked myself, in Part 1, “If this were a test, would I pass?” Love is so much more than what the modern world makes it–what the church makes it.
One of the last things Matthew Henry says about this passage speaks a hard truth to us today.
That, if the followers of Christ do not love one another, they not only cast an unjust reproach upon their profession, but give just cause to suspect their own sincerity.
Let’s go beyond the obvious challenges of the church as a whole, with its denomination-based divisions, past the bickering that takes place within denominations themselves, into the heart of the local church, that one small part of THE Church. How many in each body genuinely love each other even in the most commonly accepted sense? When you consider how many show up at the last minute and leave at the first, never taking time to even get to know the rest of their church family, how can they love…really love? And the rest of us? I shudder to think how few of us love as completely as Jesus loved. I will be the first to confess that I don’t; if I did, He wouldn’t likely have led me into this study.
This is the livery of his family, the distinguishing character of his disciples; this he would have them noted for, as that wherein they excelled all others–their loving one another.
At one time, every wealthy family had its own livery, or uniform, that its servants wore. If a carriage drove up, anyone watching had a pretty good idea of who was inside simply because of the driver’s uniform. This is His desire for us, that our love for one another would be just as obvious to anyone who watches us, that it would be clear that, when we arrive, He has arrived as well.
Reading this, an image in addition to livery popped in my mind. After driving through Denver last night, the image was a sports team logo. Love for one another should be as associated with God’s church as that blue & orange bronco is with Denver football. Wow! Think of the loyalty, the support, the enthusiasm generated around a sports logo. Can you imagine if the notion of love engendered such reactions toward the church?
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Yes, Bobbi, that’s it exactly!