Summary: 911 - Sacrifice - Jesus
The Ultimate Sacrifice
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I 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. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.
Friendship is the most needed relationship in our society today.
"If the church is Christ-like then Christ-like friendship would result.”
So what then is Christ-likeness in area of friendship?
Let’s see in John 15. Jesus introduces his type of sacrificial friendship by commanding us to love one another. He speaks to his disciples, but this is applicable to us all. I see three outstanding qualities of a friend or how Jesus was a friend in this passage:
I. A friend will do the ultimate for another--even lay down his life for a friend.
Lit. "Greater than this love no one has" stresses the impossibility of surpassing Jesus’ friendship that one lay down his soul (psyche) on behalf of his friends (philon) (Notice how Christ is a friend). v. 13
A. Jesus did this on cross. Rom. 5:6-8. Sacrificial
B. We are to do this for friends also-- back to v. 12--"love one another as I have loved you."
We are to be willing and to give ourselves for others. Christians are called to do this. Obviously we can’t sacrifice on the cross, but we are called.
On September 11th, passengers of flight 93 defended themselves against the high jackers in the air in order to save lives on the ground. They were led by a young man whose last words were the Lord’s prayer and “Let’s roll”. He did not know that he would be called upon that day to sacrifice his own life so that others might live, but when the time came he did. He lived the words…
13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
II. A friend does not use another (as a servant), but rather shares honestly his innermost desires and plans. v. 15
- Jesus did this by no longer considering his disciples to be servants. He released them into friendship. They were proven friends who Jesus wished to include in his innermost counsel--Not a human instrument. Jesus made known to them what his Father intended; Intimacy.
We are called to do this also in friendship. When we have the Godly friendships I’m describing then we share honestly with others. We do not seek to use or manipulate them for our gain. Jesus noted a large difference between slaves and friends. Slaves were kept in the dark; friends were included in counsel.
This is a big step that many need to pray about and work on. It’s not easy to let people in.
III. A friend is befriended or chosen by a conscious commitment of the will - v. 16. Phileo--love that chooses or prefers ( )
- Jesus said - v. 16 16You did not choose me, but I chose you. Jesus chose them and committed himself to them because of his pleasure--for no cause. Just because! The initiative of friendship did not lie with the disciples.
- We do this also in our friendships--by commitments.
We should be imitators of Christ’s friendship by his enabling, empowering grace. This passage is sandwiched by parallel verses 12 & 17--Jesus command for friendship is to love one another.
Don’t forget that Jesus provides the model for friendship with his disciples. Jesus was a real friend to his disciples. This friendship was a vehicle of discipleship. Through Jesus’ friendship, he laid down his life for his friends and the church spread. Although we can’t go into details, it should not be passed over that the NT church is pictured as a society of redeemed friends, brought near to one another, by being brought near to Christ. As we are reconciled to him, we are brought closer together. In the Acts and Epistles, we see genuine NT friendships produced as an outgrowth of Body-life. If he is our head and we are members of one another truly Christ-like friendship should be the fruit of a Christ-centered church. If we don’t have such friendship then what is the cause?