Suggested further reading: John 13:31-35
There is much in all this which calls loudly for solemn
reflection. There are few passages of Scripture so calculated to raise in
our minds humbling thoughts. We have a lovely picture of the
Christian as he ought to be. We cannot look at it without painful feelings.
We must all allow that it differs widely from the Christian as he is.
Let us carry away from it two general lessons.
In the first place, if the spirit of these ten verses were more
continually remembered by true believers they would recommend
Christianity to the world far more than they do. We must not allow
ourselves to imagine that the least words in this passage are trifling
or of small moment. They are not so. It is attention to the spirit of
this passage which makes our religion beautiful. It is the neglect of
the things which it contains which makes our religion deformed.
Unfailing courtesy, kindness, tenderness and consideration for others
are some of the greatest ornaments to the character of the child of
God. The world can understand these things if it cannot understand
doctrine. There is no religion in rudeness, roughness, bluntness
and incivility. The perfection of practical Christianity consists in
attending to the little duties of holiness as well as to the great.
In the second place, if the spirit of these ten verses had
more dominion and power in the world how much happier the world
would be! Who does not know what quarrellings, strifes, selfishness
and unkindness cause half the miseries by which mankind is
visited? Who can fail to see that nothing would so much tend to
increase happiness as the spread of Christian love, as here recommended
by our Lord? Those who fancy that true religion has any tendency
to make men unhappy are greatly mistaken. It is the absence of it
that does that, and not the presence. True religion makes men
happy because it promotes peace, love, kindness and goodness.
For meditation: There is a dangerous tendency to point men
away from the example of our own lives when they want a proof of
Christianity. Our lives, however, are supposed to be living testimonies
to our faith (John 13:35).