John 15:9-17 Gifts of the Redeemer!
Bible Background: In John’s gospel, this is part of Jesus ‘Farewell Discourse’, a long section on Jesus’ last night with his disciples. He’s sharing very personally with them. He’s praying for them. And he’s still teaching them!
Digging Deeper: 1. In John’s gospel, the Last Supper is about Jesus giving his disciples a New Commandment: that they love one another. He underscores this by washing the disciples’ feet-setting an example for servanthood. (Oddly enough, Holy Communion is not mentioned by John.)
2. “This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.” (v.12) That’s a pretty tall order! It’s followed by this memorable line: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” which is exactly what Jesus will do on the cross.
3. Then Jesus turns the conversation to “friends”. “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” This is where Jesus gets very personal! The disciples are not just his students. They are not his underlings. They are friends! He trusts them. He shares everything with them. He has revealed the Father’s love to them.
4. We sing the old hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” What is it like to have Jesus for a friend? What is a true friend like? Accepting? Dependable? Holds us accountable? Wants what is best for us? Knows us? Brings out the best in us? What does it mean to you that Jesus considers you to be his friend? For what in that friendship are you most grateful?
5. There is a lot packed into these few verses (and John is not an easy Gospel to read! John often circles back and jumps around with his sayings.) Verse 16 tells how Jesus has chosen us and appointed us to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last! Earlier and later in this ‘farewell section’ Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come to the disciples. Is Jesus telling them they will display the ‘fruits of the Spirit’? That the purpose of their lives is to show Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control? Would we dare to ask the Spirit to produce those fruits in our lives?