12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (ESV)
Loving Like Jesus Loved Us
Jesus calls Christians to the highest possible love when he commands, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Breath-taking and inspiring, but what exactly does Jesus mean?
By book-ending this passage (John 15:12-17) with this call to love, Jesus clearly intends us to understand his meaning in large part from the content in the middle. Below are four ways Jesus has loved us and how we might imitate him.
1. Jesus has loved us by being our friend, in that he opens his life and heart to us (vs15). Jesus has not kept secrets from us as he would with mere servants. Let us also love one another by opening our lives and hearts to each other as brothers and sisters—as friends—and not as mere strangers.
2. Jesus has loved us by being the best of friends to us, in that he died for us on the cross (vs13). May we also die daily, to our wants and preferences, in order to prioritize one another—as the best of friends do.
3. Jesus has loved us by ensuring our standing as his friends (vs16). Jesus’ friends are those who obey him. If so, how can he already call his disciples (and us) friends, given so much obedience left to be lived? Answer: his sovereign choosing and appointing of our fruit-filled obedience. Obedience truly is a condition for friendship with Jesus, and Jesus has ensured that we meet that condition. May we too setup others to be our friends and Jesus’, by thoughtful encouragement and doing all we can to remove hindrances.
4. Jesus has loved us by giving us all we need to enjoy his friendship (vs16). The Father will answer all prayers for fruitfulness in Jesus’ name. What a promise! This is exactly what we need to stand in friendship with the Son of God and he himself has provided us with the means to receive it. May we likewise love one another by being a means of pruning in their lives, giving ourselves to their discipleship and holiness.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Andy Hubert on July 22, 2014.)