I write this post on Thursday morning (June 28) while listening to radio reports of US Supreme Court decisions. I have just completed this Sunday’s Class Notes (for July 1) and I must say that it has been an interesting little experience that I thought I would share. Since this will post on June 29, the dates may be relevant…
The Class Notes are dealing with John 15:1-17 and the ending of that text reads as follows:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit —fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
There is much more here than meets the eye and much more than churches usually teach, but seeing it all together is of great use and blessing to anybody who wants to follow Jesus Christ. Here are the elements that can change lives:
1. Love each other
2. Love as Jesus loved you
3. A friend of Jesus obeys His commands
4. We are not just His servants but His friends
5. Jesus has commanded that we a) Love each other and b) bear fruit
OK, here’s how these concepts fit together:
First, we must love each other. To love (agape) is to make a commitment to place others ahead of ourselves in everything, and in order to do this we must put self aside in all things.
Second, To love as Jesus loved us is to be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers. This is the most selfless thing a person can do. Even if we are not called upon to make such a sacrifice, we must be willing to lay self aside and put others first.
Third, Jesus’ friends do what He asks of them in obedience to His commands.
Fourth, There is a great contrast between a servant (Greek slave) and a friend, for a servant relationship is a relationship of inequality. A friend on the other hand is a relationship of equality. (We might want to think about the implications of that sort of relationship)
Fifth, now let’s put these all together. Love each other by putting selfish desires and motives away for good: Always be willing to serve each other in unselfish love. Obey the Lord in all things, particularly in the matter of unselfish love for each other. Doing this will enable us to bear fruit for Christ, and in so doing our joy will be complete and our relationship with Him solid, sustaining and eternal… and God will grant our requests to fully enable us to bear fruit for His Kingdom. Oh and by the way, as we bear more fruit, the world around us will be impacted in a big way.
Remember: We were not singled out to simply receive untold blessings, we are His disciples to accomplish His purpose, and in so doing the blessings will be greater than we can even begin to imagine.
What am amazing contrast to the news of what goes on in this world!
Just think about it… What I have spelled out from John 15 is so utterly revolutionary that the people around us cannot help but see this godly love at work and marvel. Anybody with a brain has got to ask us where they can get some! And of course those without brains won’t like us very much as the next section (vv. 18 ff.) warn.