Saturday, June 16, 2012

John 15:13-17

I am a very social creature! I love being around people, and I have always enjoyed having many friends. I have friends from my childhood whom I treasure, even though I rarely see them. I have cherished friends from the child-raising years, with whom I have shared glorious experiences as we have watched our children go from wearing diapers to changing their own children’s diapers. I have friends from my 20 years of teaching who are like family. And I have been blessed to call many of the parents in my classroom friends long after the students have left my classroom.

Among these there is a smaller group of very close friends with whom I will cry and pray. There is an intimacy in these friendships that comes from a common commitment to Jesus Christ. We care about each other, we listen to each other, and we will both rejoice and mourn together. We hold each other accountable. We want the best for each other, and we are very careful how we advise each other. We try to encourage each other through God’s Word. Friends do that for each other. That’s why I marvel that Jesus would call me His friend! The Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, the Holy One calls me friend! Amazing!

In today’s passage, Jesus shows how much He cherishes His relationship with His disciples, but it also applies to us today:

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. (John 15:13-17)

Jesus is saying that we can be assured of this intimate relationship with Him, because He has shared with us all that He has learned from the Father. This sharing of God’s Word is the basis of our friendship. It is what sets us apart from mere acquaintances. We don’t just have a wave-from-across-the-street relationship with Christ. He sits with us and reveals the heart of the Father as He makes known to us God’s Truth.

And how extraordinary that He is the one who initiates this relationship. He chose us! Why did He choose us? To go and bear eternal fruit! He wants us to multiply what He’s done within our lives by sharing it with others. He wants us to reach out to a world that is dying and give out the same hope that we have found in Him. His intention is that we grow (bearing internal fruit of the Spirit), and that we reproduce that in others.

Doing that is risky! We risk rejection every time we try to share Him with someone. The world doesn’t want to hear the message. Next week we will see that Jesus also guaranteed that rejection would come with the fruit-bearing! Not everyone wants to be His friend.  

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