Recently, I was reading the familiar passage in John 15 where Jesus talks about the vine and the branches.
The first portion describes how we are to remain in Jesus, so as to bear fruit. In fact, we can do nothing apart from Jesus.
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Now coming to the second part:
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 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. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
So the key to remaining in Jesus and in His love, is to obey his command.
What is this command? Look at verses 13 and 14.
Love one another as Jesus has loved us. And this love is the kind that dies for another person.
I was just thinking about what it means practically.
Do I really love those that I say that I love?
If I say I love my family, would I die for them?
If I say I love my friends, would I die for them?
If I say I love God, would I die for Him?
That is a really radical kind of love. Maybe I am not loving others the way Jesus intended for each of us. It is impossible without God having transformed us.
I’m also reminded of Ephesians 5:25 to 28 where it says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…in this way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
This is a truly self-sacrificial love. A divine kind of love.
Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”
That is the same question he is asking us today.
May God enable us to love as he does!