Sunday 11 November 2012

Bible Book:

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (v. 13)

John 15:9-17 Sunday 11 November 2012


Today (Remembrance Sunday) this passage will be heard by manyattending services and remembering those who have given their lifefor others.

These words of Jesus are spoken to talking with his group of 12disciples just after he has told them that he will be leaving them(John 14). The disciples are confused andworried, and Jesus tries to help them understand that when he hasgone they will still be able to find that connection with him, byabiding in him. The word "abide" (vv. 9-10) seems to have severalmeanings, from being at home with or being faithful to apromise.

We begin with God the Father, who loves Jesus, who is nowcalling the disciples to remain in the love of God and be obedientto the commands they have learnt. This is not out of fear, but outof love in order to experience the joy of knowing that they arebeing obedient (verses 9-11).

Jesus then calls his disciples his friends; they are no longerslaves. The Greek word for 'friends', philoi, is related to a verbmeaning 'love' (phileo) and conveys a greater sense of intimacythan does our modern use of friend, although our word is actuallyrelated to the Anglo-Saxon verb 'freon', meaning 'to love'. So asfriends, the disciples have intimate knowledge, not only of thepurposes and plan but also of its creator.

The idea that one should lay down one's life for one's friendswas well known in the ancient world, but Jesus takes this one stepfurther by revealing that this human ideal is in accord with thedivine ideal. The outcome of this intimacy is fruitfulness, thatthe things of God will grow in love and through love for theother.

To Ponder

  • Who have you heard about or know personally who has given theirlive for someone else? Spend some time remembering them and givethanks.
  • "Love is all you need", sang John Lennon. How true is this inyour experience?
  • In what way is it important to you that God's love and call tolive by God's commandments are connected? 
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