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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

John 15:12-17 - A Devotion

John 15:12-17
"12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one 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 slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things 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 would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever * * you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 "This I command you, that you love one another."
This verse's theme is Jesus' command to His disciples to love one another. He states it in verse 12 and repeats it in verse 17.
We notice the kind of love of which He spoke. This kind of love does not look at a person's status, even if their status seems lower than us. The love Jesus spoke of is qualitatively greater than normal human love. It is a kind of love that would die for a friend. This "friend" comes from the Greek word philos, which means someone so close they are or could be considered family. All Jesus' disciples then are family and worthy for whom to die.
Jesus gave this great depth of love as well as a commission. He is the one who chose you and called you "philos" friend. Jesus is the one who appointed you to go. He is the one who established your connection to the vine by which spiritual fruit could grow. He gives them the ability to grow their fruit because they are part of His family. They can ask anything of the Father and can grow more like Him. Jesus does all these. He requires only one thing - love of God and each other. 
This passage sheds light that the greatest of all the commandments is loving God and loving neighbors. We cannot hide from that. Jesus didn't hide from it, but gave His life so it could occur. He is the one who chose to love us, to establish us as part of His family, and to give us power to have fruit.
Have you forgotten the depth of Jesus' love for you? Have you forgotten that Jesus chose you? Have you been running the race in your own strength. Go back to Jesus and He will remind you of His love for you and His power to make you strong. He will remind you that you are family and renew your place in His family. Let Jesus be the one who gives you strength, encourages you, loves you, and grows your fruit.