John 15: 12-17 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
This passage is such a powerful reminder of God’s intention for our relationship with Him. It magnifies the depth, purity, and alignment of that relationship. How would you measure your friendship with Jesus? Jesus is saying to you and me that the ultimate in relational depth is the willingness to lay down one’s life for another. The value and worth of that person is lifted up on the podium of true love. To top it off, you and I are on that podium with Jesus. This is exactly what He has done for us through His death on the cross. But there is one thing in being willing to die for someone and another to be willing to be their friend. Jesus addresses both of those in this passage. Friendship for Jesus means alignment. It is not only being willing to die for someone but being of the same mind as someone. To be of the same mind means that you value and treasure the same character, purpose and design. The relationship Jesus has with the disciples has now moved from simply following and doing what Jesus says to full alignment of friendship. They are no longer just servants of Jesus. They are friends of Jesus. WOW! Where would you say you are? What this means then is that their alignment – obedience, values, character, purpose, love – is demonstration of the fruit of their friendship. They no longer need to be told what to do as servants. They know what to do. It is in their hearts. To love as Jesus loves is in their DNA. This depth of relationship brings a remarkable surprise in Jesus’ words. “Whatever you ask in my name, He may give it to you.” This is not a risky statement from Jesus. It also isn’t a “free for all” for us. This is Jesus acknowledging the empowerment of alignment. Jesus is saying, I will equip you with everything you need as you live, act and serve others as I would. Jesus chose us to do this in a world that is broken and divided. Jesus saved us, redeemed us, forgave us, empowered us, loved us – to do this in a world that is broken and divided. Will you cross dividing lines and show this kind of love? Will you embody the friendship of Jesus and lay down your life so others may simply live and be loved? To be on mission with Jesus is not easy, but His promise to give us whatever we need as we do it is true.
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us even to giving your life. Thank you for opening the door of friendship to us and giving us your Holy Spirit to teach and align our hearts to yours. Help us to love as you love. Help us to see the needs of others, meet them where they are and raise them up on the podium as ones you love as your image bearers. Amen!