Text: John 15: 9-17
Text verse: John 15:10
Here Jesus emphasises the command to love by repeating it three times (vs. 9, 12 & 17). He then describes this love in two ways.
Obedience (vs. 10)
Jesus takes Himself as the perfect example of this love. He is obedient to His Father and thereby remains in His Father’s love. He crucifies his own needs and seeks His Father’s will. In the same way, we must abide in His love by obeying Him.
Sacrificial (vs. 13)
Furthermore, this love is characterised by self-sacrifice. In this Jesus is also an example for us. He loves us so much that He dies on the cross on our behalf. Paul describes this by pointing out that Jesus died for us when we were still His enemy (also see Rom. 5:10). We therefore certainly do not deserve His love. His love extends far beyond our commitment to Him.
So, how do we get power to love so much?
Obey through joy
To love completely by being obedient, Jesus points us to an important truth in verses 9-11. We think and the world teaches us that we will find joy in earthly possessions. If you can just get that million or look younger or maybe go on that expensive holiday, then you will be happy. The consequence of this false joy is that it leads us to disobedience.
Jesus says no! We only find true joy in Him. The joy we seek is to become part of this community between Father and Son again. This is exactly what obedience does. By being obedient, we become part of that glory and it fills every believer with great joy.
Therefore, a believer can and will want to be obedient. This joy we receive in Christ compels us to obey.
Sacrificial - no one will look after us
Likewise, it is difficult for us to follow Jesus’ sacrificial love because the world teaches us that we are alone. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you will be trampled on. Therefore, you need to hurt back, insult and take care of your own needs.
Then Jesus says in verses 12-17 that we have the best friend in the world. We have a friend who was willing to die for our sins.
It also reminds us of Abraham. He is the only one referred to as “friend of God” (2 Chron. 20: 7 & James 2:23). The reason he is called “friend of God” is because he had access to God’s mind through revelation to Him. Abraham saw God’s will and he obeyed.
In Christ we are so much more privileged than Abraham. Through Christ we receive the most intimate revelation from God. We get to know God through Christ on a level that Old Testament believers could only hope for. That is why we can also be called “Jesus’ friends”.
The wonderful thing about this intimate friendship is that we can ask in Jesus’ name, and the Father will give. He gives because our selfish desires are no longer paramount. God’s will comes first for the true friend of God.
We are friends of God because we can explore God’s most intimate thoughts – something in which even the angels desire to gain insight (also see 1 Pet. 1:12).
Therefore, believers can make great sacrifices for others. We have a Friend who gave His life for us. He cares and helps and therefore we can give without expecting anything in return.