Friendship in Jesus

John 15: 12-17
Acts 15:22-31 / Psa 57

I am giving you this commandment: love one another.
(John 15:17)

Christ tells us to love one another,
Remain in His love and believe,
Whatever we ask of the Father
In His Name we’ll surely receive.

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s 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. You 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. I am giving you this commandment: love one another.” (John 15:12-17)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage from John begins and ends with our Lord’s command to love one another. It is as if Jesus is saying that since God is love, then love must also be the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Love is all-encompassing, and should therefore be the rule of our life. But the kind of love that Jesus speaks of is not the human kind of emotion, but one far greater (“as I have loved you)— to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And He proved His love for us by sacrificing His own life to atone for our sins, and win our eternal salvation.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.” In our renewal community, almost all the members share a special relationship with Jesus as an intimate friend because of the life-transforming encounter with Him that we experienced (through the Holy Spirit). This common intimacy with the Lord has made all of us cherish our Brotherhood, and this in turn has become the “magnet” for others to keep coming back to our meetings. “I was attracted to the joy and warm camaraderie in our assembly” has become the familiar refrain we hear from our new members.

I do not call you servants any longer… I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” As His friends, we have become more informed about our faith, and deeply devoted to Scriptures. As such, we are privileged to be servants of God’s Word. Our level of friendship with Jesus can be gauged by our passion for His Word. Of course our friendship with Jesus will also be tested, as Abraham’s faith was. “Abraham believed God, ‘and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23).

It was I Who chose you.” We also believe that we were hand-picked by the Lord to perform specific tasks that benefit our community and our Church. We were chosen for specific roles, working together as a team to make every activity a successful endeavor. Jesus wants us to “Go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” The dedication and sacrifice that all the servant members are putting into their individual ministries will certainly bear fruit for years to come. Already we have seen it in the growth of our community.

Everything you ask the Father in My Name He will give you.” Yes! There were challenges that seemed at first impossible to surmount, problems too complicated to solve, but as our Lord kept reminding us in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” As St. Paul also assures us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:31-32) Again, it’s just a matter of trusting that our Friend will come across.

Finally, Jesus is telling us: “I am giving you this commandment: love one another.” Christ’s brand of love is not about feeling, but an act of the will. In our community, there may be a few whose personalities rub us the wrong way. Avoiding them may not be the best option. We may not like them, but we can still love them by praying for them and wishing them well. If we can practice patience, understanding, and forgiveness of their faults, they’ll make saints out of us yet.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your friendship, for the company of true friends, and for the opportunity of being able to serve our community. Most of all, thank You for increasing my faith even more as You showed me Your miracle of love. Amen.

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