John 13:34-35: “34 ‘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.'”
It seems everyone needs a title in our society. In most cases it is helpful when you are needing to know where to go or who can help you with a particular need. When you have praise or a complaint about food service, you know to request the ‘Manager on Duty’. At school there is the chain of command you learn about in your earliest years as a student. On the workplace it is important to know who’s the boss and who determines if you’re fulfilling your job requirements. In the home, Mom and Dad are important titles so that no one forgets who makes and enforces the rules and, of course, who has the joyous responsibility of paying all those bills!
In the local church this can be productive, as well. You most certainly need to know who is the Lead or Senior Pastor as he or she is the vision-caster, the Shepherd, and the overseer of the Body. Then there are often titled positions in line behind the Pastor: the assistant pastor, the administrative assistant, the Sunday School or small group teacher, etc.
When Jesus called out his disciples, He most definitely knew that each one would bring a little something different to the team. Through various citing in Scripture we learn whom He trusted to deal with the money, whom He leaned upon for interpersonal connections, and those He trusted as his details personnel. But when He greeted them, commissioned them, or taught them He affectionately called them “my disciples”. Strong’s Concordance defines the word ‘disciple’ from its Greek intent as an apostle, a messenger, an envoy, a delegate. The long and short of it, a disciple is one commissioned by another to represent him in some way.
My challenge to us today is to consider how we are representing Christ as His disciples. All the titles we have been given, both secular and in the Body of Christ, fall behind the greatest title of them all: Christ’s representative. When Jesus sat to table with His disciples for one final time (and after He had released Judas to abandon Him), He commissioned them with His summary of what He needed them to be after His crucifixion and ascension to the Father. He simply said “love one another; as I have loved you”. As a disciple and follower of Christ, may we represent Him well by loving one another–our brothers and sisters in Christ–as Jesus loved us.
A fellow disciple of Him,