Jesus had been baptized, anointed by the Holy Spirit. He had gained victory over the tempter in the wilderness. Entering into His ministry He was intentional in choosing His disciples. The invitation was given, "follow me", to one after another. (Matthew 4:19, 9:9, 16:24) Anyone could identify His disciples. They were that special circle of men who accompanied Him, working with Him wherever He went.
As Jesus' three and a half year ministry was drawing to a close, He endeavored to prepare the disciples for the future in order for them to best carry on the work of spreading the gospel after His departure.
While the disciples could readily be identified when in association with Jesus, how would they be distinguished when He was gone? They must know. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" "love one another; as I have loved you" John 13:35, 34.
The test is pretty clear, isn't it – to love others in the same way that Jesus loves us. Hmmmm. Even when the other isn't deserving? Yes. Even when I'm tired? Yes. Always unselfishly? Always. Even unto death? Yes, just like Jesus.
That kind of love is not native to us, but praise God for His provision for our change. "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me" John 15:4. When we abide in Him, He is able to effect the transformation promised in Ezekiel 36:26, 27. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you". Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
So, I ask the question. Is there reliable evidence to identify you or me as a disciple of Jesus?
Kathy Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.