My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:12-17)
Jesus opens a door in human history with this statement, and invites us to walk through it. He says this just before he lays down his life for his friends, including the whole world and us. Jesus says three things to the disciples. 1. “I chose you.” Sure takes all the human pride out of it, doesn’t it? 2. “Appointed you.” Now he’s getting serious — this is a position, an office in which we’ve been installed. 3. “Bear fruit that will last” — there are outcomes to our choosing and appointment, for which we are accountable and responsible. I have to ask the question: ‘Jesus, chosen and appointed — for what?’ Chosen and appointed to “Love each other as I have loved you.” How many different ways is the world falling apart right now? The church, the law, the world economy, the family, government, education, global health, wars, refugees, politics — you name it. Not to mention personal fear, loneliness, confusion, pride, grief and death. Jesus’ answer to them all is simple and powerful beyond all measure: “Love each other as I have loved you.” Challenging love. Understanding love. Advocacy love. Healing love. Teaching love. Peace-making love. Encouraging love. And most of all Redeeming love: “laying down one’s life for one’s friends.” That’s what Jesus has chosen and appointed us to do with this day in the history of the world, and of us.
Lord, I will learn to love like you by doing it today. That’s the job you have given me. Thank you for entrusting me with that responsibility. Amen.