|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:31-35 Christ had been glorified in many miracles he wrought, yet he speaks of his being glorified now in his sufferings, as if that were more than all his other glories in his humbled state. Satisfaction was thereby made for the wrong done to God by the sin of man. We cannot now follow our Lord to his heavenly happiness, but if we truly believe in him, we shall follow him hereafter; meanwhile we must wait his time, and do his work. Before Christ left the disciples, he would give them a new commandment. They were to love each other for Christ's sake, and according to his example, seeking what might benefit others, and promoting the cause of the gospel, as one body, animated by one soul. But this commandment still appears new to many professors. Men in general notice any of Christ's words rather than these. By this it appears, that if the followers of Christ do not show love one to another, they give cause to suspect their sincerity.
Verse 35. - By (or, in) this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one toward another. Not by works of majesty and power, but by love to one another. All commentators refer to the well-known saying of St. John at Ephesus, as recorded by Jerome, "This is the Lord's commandment. If ye love one another it is enough" (Tholuck refers to Tertullian's 'Apol.,' 39; Minucius Felix, "They love before they know each other ;" and Lucian, "Their Master makes them believe they are brothers," 'De Mort. Pereg.'). Analogies to the great law of Christ may be found in the Law of Moses, in Talmudical writings, in the Confucian 'Analcets,' and in Stoical maxims; but this ἐντολή in its fullness, and as sustained by this motive, or inspired by this pattern, and lifted to this standard, is new to the human race: and it is the power which has revolutionized thought, society, and life. So long as this great power prevailed, the Church made astounding progress; when the so-called disciples of Christ began to hale and kill one another the progress was arrested. But, thank God, the "new commandment" has always had marvelous power over the Church of Christ.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
By this shall all men know,.... Not only by this you yourselves will know that ye have passed from death to life, that the true work of grace is begun upon your hearts; nor only by this will you know one another to be Christians; but by this all men, even the men of the world will know,
that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another: and own and acknowledge it, as Tertullian (n) says the very Heathens did in his time; who would say, when they saw the Christians pass along the streets, and meet and express their affection to each other, "see how they love one another": would to God the same was as observable now. The distinguishing badge and character of a disciple of Christ, is not any outward garb, or any austerities of life, by which the disciples of John and of the Pharisees were known; nor were the ordinary nor extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, what distinguished them as such; since those who were not truly his disciples, had these bestowed on them; but love to one another, brotherly love was the distinguishing character, and this is another reason or argument enforcing a regard unto it.
(n) Apolog. c. 39.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples—the disciples of Him who laid down His life for those He loved.
if ye have love one to another—for My sake, and as one in Me; for to such love men outside the circle of believers know right well they are entire strangers. Alas, how little of it there is even within this circle!
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