- Religion and Philosophy
John's Gospel-a new look: no 26 Friends of Jesus
Friends of Jesus
Hated by the world but friends of Jesus; John 15.
As Jesus continues to explain to his disciples that he will be leaving them to return to the Father they become anxious, but he reassures them with the promise that he will not leave them as orphans (Jn 14:18 N.I.V.)
In chapter 15 John explains the great teaching about the vine and the branches. Fruit comes as a result of the branches receiving power from the vine and so we must remain firmly connected to Jesus. It is interesting that God is described as the vine dresser After all it is God that grants life and also removes those who do not produce fruit.
God is glorified if we “bear much fruit” (Jn.15:8). There is no such thing as a Christian who does not produce fruit. As part of the vine that is our purpose. For too long Christianity has been practiced as a spectator sport. We have to be active in the Kingdom or else we are useless and face rejection.
The great statement recorded in vs.14 is that Jesus invites us not to be servants but friends. He laid down his life for his friends and now he states that if we do what he commands we enter into a special friendship relationship.
The problem remains that friendship with Jesus brings a rejection and even hatred from the world. Jesus explains that he suffered this fate and we will have to face the same fate. (vs.18) The world and Jesus stand in stark conflict. Accepting Jesus means rejecting the world with its false values and promises. Just recently we have seen people who have been widely admired by the world because of their drive, ambition and worldly success, fall from grace.
There is no disappointment in being a friend of Jesus. Yes, rejection and persecution by the world will come with the territory, but the promises and rewards today and in eternity are huge. Who then is your friend? It is your time to choose because when Jesus died he did so because he already chose you. (vs. 19) He considered you worthy to die for.