My time working for a company once coincided with the last years of the company’s founder being involved in the operation. He and a friend had started the business over 40 years previous to my arrival.
I never saw him while at work, our paths never crossed. I was second shift in the QC lab, and he was managing the Executive Board. However, within my first few years on the job, while at a dedication event for Chestnut Mountain Ranch, I saw him from a distance. I was afraid to walk up and awkwardly introduce myself, and I rationalized my fear by thinking that my position was too low to justify me striking up a conversation out of the blue.
Although I never had another chance to speak with him, I did get to know him. The longer I worked at the company, the more I found that nearly everyone knew Mike. In previous years, he had purposefully worked closely with many of his employees. Those who worked with him had adopted his ethos for excellent work and treating your workers with excellence. I came to know the standards and expectations of the company because the founder had instilled his methods and expectations on those who would pass down those patterns of behavior to me.
On a much larger scale, something similar has happened in God’s family. In the books referred to as “The Gospels”, we have four separate, but highly complementary, records of Jesus’ life. John, the youngest of all Jesus’ disciples, would record Jesus telling the disciples at the Passover meal:
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.
How will others know that we are followers of Jesus? It’s not because of the money we make, the car we drive, or the education we have. We are identified as disciples based upon how we love other believers.
Did you know that Jesus even prayed for us modern-day believers? That’s right, Jesus specifically mentions us – you and me – during His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before He was crucified. John also recorded this:
I pray not only for [the disciples], but also for those who believe in Me through their word. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe you sent Me.
Jesus’ words obviously stuck with John. Many years after Jesus had ascended into Heaven, here’s what John passed on about Jesus in a letter he wrote to other believers…ones who had never met Jesus:
1 John 4:9-12
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is made complete in us.
Notice a theme? John carried on Jesus’ instruction, that God cares how we love one another, because our love is a reflection of His. How well we love each other demonstrates how closely we are walking with Him…and as that kind of love is different from what the world offers as love, everyone will know that we are His disciples.
As the global church of believers – those who trust in Jesus for eternal life – we have many ways to get to know our Savior. Start with what John tells us – choose to love your fellow believers. Listen to others talk about their relationship with Him. When we read Scripture, we find out who He is and what He is like. We can pray and talk directly to Him.
Short of the rapture happening in our lifetime, we won’t meet Jesus face-to-face until we’re on the other side. But that doesn’t mean we can’t know Him now. We haven’t missed our chance.