“Will the real Jesus please stand up?”
“Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn 13:35 NRSV
Have you seen the poster depicting three men, each representing a different version of Jesus? The first looks like an uncouth mountain man, the second is tanned and athletic, the third is a slight, meek-mannered character. The caption underneath says, “Will the real Jesus please stand up?” In John 13, the real Jesus stands up. He tells us what He is all about and what He wants us to be all about—and it’s love! In the upper room, Jesus recognized that His time was short. The cross was looming, Judas was about to betray Him, and He had to prepare His disciples to continue without Him. It’s like asking a pastor, “If you had one last sermon, what would it be?” Or asking a teacher, “What great truth would you most like to convey to your students?” Or asking parents, “If you could tell your kids only one thing, what would it be?” Jesus spells it out: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you…By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (vv. 34-35 NRSV). Like a last will and testament, Jesus’ final message is important not only because of its content but because of its tone and timing. It sums up His life and our responsibility to God and to others—to love them! Now, since love isn’t what you say but what you do—today go out and find practical ways to express God’s love to those you meet. They will feel good, and you will too.