The Commission as Friends. The language of friendship is immediately contextualized by language of election in v.16: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” As Fr. Raymond Brown points out , this language of election does not speak of the election of the Twelve because there is no indication anywhere in the Farewell Discourse of the number and composition of the circle that is present with Jesus on this last evening. Rather, Jesus reminds the disciples (including the readers) that their place with him is the result of his initiative, not theirs; relationship with Jesus is ultimately a result of God’s grace. Continue reading
The Greatest Love. In v.13 we come to the greatest love. Morris [598-9] comments succinctly and beautifully: “There is no love greater than that of one who lays down his life for others. Anything else must be less. This is the supreme test of love. In the context this must refer primarily to the love of Jesus shown on the cross. There he laid down his life on behalf of his friends. Some have raised the question whether the love that dies for enemies is not greater than that which is concerned for friends, but that is not before us here. In this passage Jesus is not comparing the love that sacrifices for enemies with that which sacrifices for friends. He is in the midst of friends and is speaking only of friends. With respect to them he is saying that one cannot have greater love than to die for them. When it is a question of enemies Jesus did in fact die for them (Rom. 5:10). And as Loyd says, ‘in truth love has sunk below its proper level if it begins to ask who is my friend and who my enemy. Love gives, and gives everything, for all men.’ That is the thought of this verse. Jesus gives everything, even life itself, for others. There is no greater proof of love. Continue reading
Keep My Commandments.There is something very practical here: If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. Many suggest that this is the practical answer of how one remains in Christ and in his Word, bears fruit, and remains in the love of Jesus. These things are not some mystical experience. It is simple obedience. It is when we keep Christ’s commandments that we abide in his love. Once again appeal is made to Christ’s own example. He kept the Father’s commandments and thus abides continually in the Father’s love. And it is not a blind following of the commands, it to “listen through” to the deeper love that resides within and throughout the commandments. Continue reading
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. From the obligations placed upon his disciples (vv.1-8) Jesus turns to his love for them. He first tells them that his love for them is like the Father’s love for him. Then he commands them to continue in his love, suggesting that it is possible for people to live without being mindful of Christ’s love for them and so break the closeness of the fellowship. Jesus commands them not to do this.
The words agapao/ agapē (love), did not appear in vv. 1-8, but are found 9 times in vv.9-17. These words are prominent throughout the Farewell Discourse (John 13-17) with the verbal form occurring 24 times in those chapters (contrasted with 13 times in the rest of the book) and the noun form occurring 6 times in those chapters (and only once in the remainder of the book). Continue reading
9 As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. 17 This I command you: love one another. Continue reading