John 13:34-35 – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. (NIV)
A friend of mine sang with a barber shop quartet in his younger days. He is always talking about the "fifth voice".
"What is the fifth voice?" I asked Bob one day. "When four voices blend together, a unified sound is created which becomes the fifth voice," Bob replied. "Each individual has a voice, but when blended together, a new sound is created, unlike any of the original voices."
Jesus, on the eve of His crucifixion, told His disciples that the world would know them by the way they related to each other. Any time a group joins together in Christian love, they create something no individual could create alone. It doesn't matter if the group is four plus one, or nine plus one; that which is created is greater than any one of the members could do alone.
When Christians turn aside from jealousy, selfishness, and the desire to be the centre or to be the first, and join together as a group in fellowship, they produce this sound — that is the essence of Christian love.
In effect, Jesus was saying to the disciples, "People will know that you are my disciples because the blending of your love creates My presence in the world. I'll be there in your midst, whether it's a group of two or three or four plus one, or whatever the number present."
When we come together as a class, a Bible study, a worship service, or just a few friends gathered in our homes to uplift the name of Jesus in love, He will be there in our midst.
Prayer: Lord, as we gather together in Your name, help us to remember that Your presence is there with us. If we welcome You into our midst in love, You will become our fifth voice. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.