Sixth Sunday of Easter 13.5.12 John 15. 9-17

1 05 2012

Father, Friends and Fruit

The passage develops themes introduced in the previous verses – which were also last week’s Gospel reading.  It is about profound and spiritual relationships, and the consequences (fruitfulness) of them.

John 15.9-17

Jesus said, ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Keep Yourselves in God's Love

Keep Yourselves in God's Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I 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. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’

Reflections and Questions

‘abide in my love’ v 9 The idea is to stay, to remain, to dwell in God’s love. That, as Augustine learnt, is the cure for spiritual restlessness.

Does this feel a little static to you, lacking dynamism?  If so, might it be because of your restlessness?

‘so that my joy may be in you and your joy complete.’ v 11. No half measures here. Nothing but the deepest, most delightful, time unlimited joy. 

What do you make of the idea of ‘completeness of joy’? How else might that be expressed? Fullness? Plenitude? Abundance?  Many people confuse joy and happiness – how can you help them make the distinction between these realities?

‘I have called you friends’ v15  A rich and powerful word, ‘friends’. It speaks of fellowship, companionship and intimacy.  ‘Friend’ is a good word in any language and a surprising one when a master is addressing disciples, pupils, apprentices.  But it can also be an overused and cheapened word.  A few verses earlier, the passage suggests that friendship is a relationship which might just develop into self-sacrifice. Now that is serious – and costly.

What sort of connection can you make with the idea of laying down your life for your friends? Do you have a story that speaks of the truth and cost of self-sacrificial love?

‘You did not choose me, I chose you’ v16  I am making no comment on this. Just repeat the words to yourself for a few minutes and see what they come to mean.

Do you like these words, or would you prefer it if you were the chooser?

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