As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “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. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
We like to think that our love is freely given affection. Our preference for another that finds emotional expression in words and actions.
Here we have something much different. Love is commanded, perhaps even demanded, of us. It’s not an optional “icing on the cake” part of our lives. Its a requirement for life itself.
And not just any expression of love will do. “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.”
That is quite bracing isn’t it?
On Facebook there is a particular piece of personal information that receives a lot of attention… Your “relationship status” A simple change from “friend” to “engaged” can announce an intention to the world that will set tongues and fingers flapping.
Jesus announces a change in relationship status with his disciples. We are no longer servants, but friends. What is the difference here? Servants do as they are told. Friends are involved and invested in the goals and outcomes. This why the followers of Jesus are willing to lay down their lives for others.
“Love one another” Not just a good idea… its the law.