How can you tell if someone is a follower of Christ? Huge amounts of necklaces and trinkets adorned with crosses on them, as well as T-shirts with recognizable logos that have been retooled into a bible based theme (ouch) are sold each year- often with the motive of “letting the world know that I’m a Christian”.
But is that really how the world will know that we have submitted to the rule of God through Jesus Christ? Some believe that they have to be outspoken about their moral convictions and fight every impure aberration they encounter in order to demonstrate that they are, indeed, a Christian.
Some people are so zealous they could be described as being “in your face” about their faith – all in an attempt to be identified as belonging to Christ. Did Jesus give us any clues about how we could be recognized as his disciples, his followers?
The answer is yes. He told us very clearly, with words that are both ridiculously easy to understand and ridiculously hard to do.
We’re going to be reading John 13:18-38 this Sunday, finishing up the chapter. In this section we have three points – 1) a betrayal is forecast and the betrayer identified, 2) Jesus gives a new commandment, and 3) Jesus forecasts Peter’s denial. Jesus’ command is sandwiched between two revelations of faithlessness – which I believe is intentional to provide a contrast for his command.
When Jesus revealed that someone would betray him, what were the disciples uncertain about? Did they show any predisposition to assume Judas was the betrayer? It seems like Judas blended in with the gang quite well – so with that in mind, how much do you think an outward show of solidarity has to do with rightly representing Jesus?
When Jesus told them all he was leaving to a place they couldn’t follow, Pete zealously announced that he would go anywhere – he would die for Jesus. Jesus had some disconcerting news for him about events that would happen later that night. How much did outspoken zeal have to do with rightly representing Jesus?
V34-35 – what did Jesus say the telltale trait of his followers would be? Is this romantic love, or sentimental love, or something else? How easy or hard is it for you to love people who are unlovely – who hurt you or offend you? How does loving people like Jesus loves you help you understand how to love? This will be a challenging but hope-filled study – hope you can make it! ALSO – don’t forget to look at the songs for this Sunday!