Our Trademark

Merwin VanDoornik

READ : 1 John 4:19-21
1 John 5:1

The name “John” means “God is gracious.” But when Jesus first claimed our writer He gave him a nickname: “Son of Thunder.” It fit. He had a short fuse and a spirit of revenge (see Luke 9:51-55).

But by the time he died, the early church had given John a new name: “Messenger [or Apostle] of Love.” God had certainly done a renovation job on him! It is reported that after John had been exiled on the island of Patmos he was allowed to return to the mainland to revisit the Christian congregation in Ephesus. He was feeble but was asked to preach one last sermon. As he stood haltingly the congregation waited with quiet excitement. But the sermon had only five words (only four in the Greek language John spoke): “Little children, love one another.” No wonder this letter majors on that one-word theme: “love.”

Jesus had said that this would be the trademark by which unbelievers would recognize Christians. He did not say: “They will know you belong to Me because you write large theological books, or because you speak in tongues or perform miracles.” He said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). The best adver- tisement for Jesus Christ is a loving Christian.


“Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us. Teach us as sister, brother each person to embrace. Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some, to love them as we find them or as they may become.” (Fred Kaan)