John 13:35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
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(35) 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!

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.By this shall all men ... - That is, your love for each other shall be so decisive evidence that you are like the Saviour, that all people shall see and know it. It shall be the thing by which you shall be known among all men. You shall not be known by special rites or habits; not by a special form of dress or manner of speech; not by special austerities and unusual customs, like the Pharisees, the Essenes, or the scribes, but by deep, genuine, and tender affection. And it is well known it was this which eminently distinguished the first Christians, and was the subject of remark by the surrounding pagans. "See," said the pagan, "see how they love one another! They are ready to lay down their lives for each other." Alas! how changed is the spirit of the Christian world since then! Perhaps, of all the commands of Jesus, the observance of this is that which is least apparent to a surrounding world. It is not so much that they are divided into different sects, for this may be consistent with love for each other; but it is the want of deep-felt, genuine love toward Christians even of our own denomination; the absence of genuine self-denial; the pride of rank and wealth; and the fact that professed Christians are often known by anything else rather than by true attachment to those who bear the same Christian name and image. The true Christian loves religion wherever it is found equally in a prince or in a slave, in the mansion of wealth or in the cottage of poverty, on the throne or in the hut of want. He overlooks the distinction of sect, of color, and of nations; and wherever he finds a man who bears the Christian name and manifests the Christian spirit, he loves him. And this, more and more as the millennium draws near, will be the special badge of the professed children of God. Christians will love their own denominations less than they love the spirit and temper of the Christian, wherever it may be found. 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!

A disciple hath his name, either from learning from his master, or from following his master and treading in his steps: take it in either sense, loving one another is a certain note of being Christ’s disciples; for as Christ continually pressed this by his precepts, so he set them his own example, by showing the greatest love to them he could show.

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.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
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) γνώσονταιἀλλήλοις. 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. John 13:35Shall - know (γνώσονται)

Perceive, or come to know.

My disciples (ἐμοὶ μαθηταί)

See on Matthew 12:49. Literally, disciples unto me. Compare John 15:8.

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