Sunday 10 May 2015

Bible Book:

“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.” (vv. 12-13)

John 15:9-17 Sunday 10 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm98


Chapters 13-17 of John's Gospel take place on the evening of theLast Supper, and contain long speeches from Jesus which are rathergrandly known as the Farewell Discourses. These speeches are uniqueto the Gospel of John's account of the life of Jesus.

In today's passage Jesus gives a strong focus to love. Love isof crucial importance in these verses as Jesus shares theuncertainty which faces his followers, though there is nouncertainty on his part. He offers the certainty that comes throughlove, of continuation at a time of distress and loss. With theexperience of love comes joy.

John's Gospel really ought to be called the Gospel of Love, theword 'love' appears 39 times in the Gospel, surprisingly more thanall the other Gospels put together. The space that is given over toexploring the source and implications of love allows the logic oflove to be developed - "as the Father has loved me, so I have lovedyou" (v. 9). Jesus tells his followers to abide - or hang on to -his love as something which is transformative, as gospel (ie goodnews). He then leads into today's focus verse which contains his(new) commandment. This repeats the original mention in John13:34.

Repetition is one of the features of the Bible which, perhaps,we notice more in the telling of stories where one characterrepeats another's words. Jesus' repetition of his (slightlydifferent) commandment in this passage mirrors that of Matthew'sGospel, where there are three mentions of loving one's neighbour(Matthew 5:43-46; 19:19; 22:39). The uniqueness of John's Gospel is tolink the idea of loving one another with Jesus' own expression oflove through his ultimate act of self-giving, though Jesus does notdirectly speak of himself. However, it also reminds us that at thetime when the Gospels were written the early Christians werereflecting on what it meant to follow Jesus to a martyr'sdeath.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to really love each other and what challengesdo you face in your interactions with friends and family?
  • What carries you through life's uncertainties?
  • What are the words that you repeat in describing your own walkof faith?
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