John 15:13-17

[Jesus said:] “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's 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 so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other."

In his continuing discourse on love, Jesus says there is no greater love than laying down one's life for one's friends. This is the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate expression of selfless love. And it's precisely what Jesus did for us on the cross. He laid down his life for us, his friends.

But Jesus also gives a condition for being his friend: obedience to his commands. This might seem like a strange basis for friendship. But remember, Jesus' commands are not arbitrary. They are expressions of his love and his desire for our good. Obeying Jesus is how we abide in his love.

Jesus then makes a stunning statement. He no longer calls his disciples servants but friends. In the ancient world, there was a huge gap between a master and a servant. A servant simply did what he was told without understanding the master's plans or purposes. But a friend is different. A friend is let into the inner circle, privy to the master's thoughts and plans.

This is what Jesus has done for us. He has brought us into the inner circle, making known to us everything he learned from the Father. We are not just blindly following orders but are partakers of God's very thoughts and plans.

Jesus also reminds his disciples that he chose them, not the other way around. This is a humbling truth. Our relationship with Jesus is not based on our merit but on his gracious choice. He chose us for a purpose: to bear lasting fruit. This fruit comes from abiding in him, resulting in answered prayers.

Finally, Jesus reiterates his command: love each other. The sacrificial love he has shown us should be the model for how we love one another.

As we reflect on these verses, let's ask ourselves: Do we understand the depth of Jesus' sacrificial love for us? Are we living as Jesus' friends, obeying his commands? Are we bearing lasting fruit? And are we loving others as Jesus has loved us?

May we abide in Jesus' love, bear much fruit, and love one another with the love he has shown us.

God bless you.

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