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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Being Friends of Jesus (The Way Forward in Christ Part 223)

May 14, 2024Today’s gospel: John 15:9-17

    

        What has Jesus done for us?      First, he chose us. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (v.16a). We often say we have chosen Jesus and live his way of life. But even before we chose him, he had already chosen us, according to his eternal plan. Our response is pure grace.      Second, Jesus “appointed (us) to go and bear fruit that will remain” (v,16b). Not only did Jesus choose us, but he uses us as his instruments to continue with his divine work. This is his salvific work. We are his servants and his slaves (we owe him our very lives). He empowers us in our weakness so that we can bear good fruit. This fruit remains as the work has eternal consequences. It is about the salvation of souls.      Third, we are not treated as servants but as friends. “I no longer call you slaves, …. I have called you friends” (v.15a,c). How awesome is that! We are not just nameless instruments in the Kingdom but are close-in friends of the Master himself. Our relationship with Jesus is not a functional one but a deeply personal one. As his friends, Jesus has told us everything he has heard from his Father (v.15d). He holds nothing back. He in fact entrusts the work of the Father’s Kingdom to us. “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (v.14). We are full-pledged partners in his work.       Fourth, Jesus had laid down his very life for us. This is the greatest proof of his love and his friendship. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (v.13). Even when we as great sinners were his enemies, he loved us and laid down his life for us. How much more now that we are his friends! His love for us is the very love of the Father for him (v.9a).

 

      How do we respond? We are to “remain in (his) love.” (v.9b). How do we remain in his love? We are to “keep (his) commandments” (v.10a). His commandment of love is not only to love God but also to love our neighbor. “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” (v.12).      And here is the challenge. It is fairly easy enough to love God, for He is loveable. But loving our neighbor? That is the greater challenge. But we are able to do so because it is the very love of Jesus flowing in and through us. It is his example of loving his enemies that we follow. It is his total self-giving that provides us the grace and strength to follow in his footsteps.        Finally here is the bonus. All Jesus tells us to do is the key to joy in our lives. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (v.11). The work we are entrusted with is not to be looked on as a burden, but a great joy. Indeed, to be loved by Jesus, to be his friends, to do the work of the Kingdom—what greater joy could there be in our lives!

        Here is another bonus: “that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (v.16c). We not only have access to the Father, but He hears us when we pray to Him and grants us what we ask. But we must ask in the name of Jesus, that is, as his servants doing his commands. We come before the Father, and say, we are friends of your Son Jesus.


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