By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.—The thought of their state of orphanage when He should depart from them is still present. He gives them a bond of union, by which they should always be linked to Him and to each other in the principle of love. The followers of great Teachers and Rabbis had their distinctive marks. Here was the distinctive Christian mark, which all men should be able to read. It is instructive that the characteristic mark of Christianity should thus be asserted by its Founder to consist, not in any formulary or signs, but in the love which asserts the brotherhood of man. The apologists of the first centuries delighted in appealing to the striking fact of the common love of Christians, which was a new thing in the history of mankind; and while the Church has sometimes forgotten the characteristic, the world never has. By their love for each other, for mankind, for God, is it known or denied that men who call themselves Christians are really Christ’s disciples.John 13:35. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples — Your loving one another sincerely and fervently, and in the manner and degree I now enjoin, will be the most acceptable and the most ornamental token of your relation to me, and the noblest badge of your profession. The reader will not need to be told how remarkably this new precept of our Lord was exemplified in the spirit and conduct of the first Christians, when he recollects their historian has attested, (Acts 4:32,) that though they were a great multitude, consisting of many thousands, they were all of one heart and of one soul; insomuch that not any of them accounted any of the things which he possessed as his own, but they had all things in common. And the ancient apologists for Christianity inform us, that the persecuting heathen themselves could not help exclaiming in rapture, on observing the prevalence of this grace among them, See how these Christians love one another!
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!
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.By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 13:35. ʼΕν τούτῳ] in that, with ἐάν following; comp. 1 John 2:3.
ἐμοί] not dative, but mei, with emphasis, however, as in John 15:8, comp. John 18:36.
How greatly love was really the Gnorisma of the Christians (1 John 3:10 ff.), see e.g. Tertullian, Apol. 39.John 13:35. And this Christian love is to be the sole sufficing evidence of the individual’s Christianity: ἐν τούτῳ (emphatic) γνώσονται … ἀλλήλοις. Cf. Acts 4:32, 1 John 3:10; also Tertull., Apol., 39, “vide, inquiunt, ut invicem se diligant”; Clem. Alex., Strom., ii. 9; Min. Felix, Octavius, 9.35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples] This is the true ‘Note of the Church;’ not miracles, not formularies, not numbers, but love. “The working of such love puts a brand upon us; for see, say the heathen, how they love another,” Tertullian, Apol. xxxix. Comp. 1 John 3:10; 1 John 3:14. ‘My disciples’ is literally, disciples to Me.John 13:35. Γνώσονται, shall know) A mark whereby Christians may be known, is love: Romans 14:18, at the close of the ver., comparing with it the middle of John 13:15, “He that in these things serveth Christ is approved of men: walkest—charitably;” 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever, etc., is not of God, neither He that loveth not his brother.”—ἐμοί) of Me, who love even to [the endurance of] death for the sake of others.—μαθηταί, disciples) ch. John 15:8, “That ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be My disciples.”—ἀγαπήν, love) and this, for My sake, and even as I have loved.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.
Perceive, or come to know.
My disciples (ἐμοὶ μαθηταί)
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