Word from Scotland: Jesus Repeats What Needs Repeating, Teaching What Is Essential
Union with Jesus Christ involves union with one another, and it is not automatic. Nobody in the Church of Jesus Christ will quarrel with that reality, but it is a sad and tragic reality. This is something that has to be worked at, and that is why Jesus commands it.
One man once said – “I love Jesus Christ so much, I have no love for anyone else.” That too is tragic – and it is really not true!
In verse 13, of John Chapter 15, Jesus goes on to express how great His love is – I love you so much I will lay down my life for you. When a man is willing and able to go that far, then he has the right to put claims and demands upon us. No man took His life from Him. Jesus willingly laid it down. He willingly went to the cross because He loved us. You cannot have greater love for anyone than that, and He says, “That is how you are to love one another”.
This deals with any excuses we may have for not doing certain things and not being in certain places when we ought to have been there. If you love Me, this is how you are to love and serve. Do not get too tangled up with the things of this world.
Your life is not your own if you belong to Jesus. He has bought you with a price – and the price was His precious blood – and like Jesus, we are called to lay down our lives for the brethren even to the point of death, and many are experiencing that in various parts of the world.
We must never forget those who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.
To receive the love of Jesus is not only a warm, calm, beautiful, soothing, saving experience – it is all of that – but it is also very costly and deeply challenging.
If you love in this way, you are My friends – verse 14. To be friends of Jesus Christ requires this level of loyalty to all the other branches in the vine.
If another branch ever lets us down – we forgive him. We never ever contemplate retaliation. We never allow it to enter our heads to get our own back. We forgive and we continue to love and serve. This is Christian Love. Anything else is just playing with words. Remember where Jesus is going when He pours out all this profound teaching – to the Garden of Gethsemane.
It is significant that all these word translated ‘you’ are in the plural. Jesus is not giving a promise to one individual disciple. He is giving it to the Church – to the body of believers – to the fellowship of the faithful.
When you are mutually loving one another as I have loved you, then you can have what ask for. This is one of the secrets of prayer – union with Jesus Christ, and union with one another.
In verse 16, there comes a mighty word. He has chosen us. I have picked you out – selected you for special privilege and favour. In times of doubt and wondering and despair, hold onto these words. I have ordained you – put you – placed you – appointed you – set you there – for one thing – fruitfulness – and Jesus wants the fruit to last.
In verse 17, Jesus repeats this command, “Love each other”. Jesus repeats it, because it is so essential, and it is also so very difficult and challenging. He knew what our hearts were like. Singing and preaching and serving is so much easier!
It is essential that we love one another because the world is going to hate us.
Jesus moves from the theme of close loyal intimate fellowship, and the note of persecution becomes prominent. We have to balance all these aspects – fruit bearing and suffering – faithfulness and persecution – loyalty and being laughed at – obedience and being mocked – rejoicing in Christ, and being rejected by the world.
We do not have to be too concerned about what we should give up – the world soon gives us up – and no longer invites us to be around, until real trouble arises.
How are we to react and respond? We go on and serve in the Love of Jesus.