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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 24, 2003

     I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done - kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
     I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.
     You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
     But remember the root command: Love one another.

John 15:9-17 (Message*)

We continue this week with more of Jesus' final discourse to his disciples. It applies not just to his disciples of that day, but of every age. What Jesus says here is critical, and I encourage you to read over it several times prayerfully to truly absorb it. There are some nuances in the way Peterson has translated it which I think make its meaning to us a little clearer than in older translations.

The key, as we are reminded over and over again in the scriptures, is love. Here the command is for Christ's followers to love one another, which probably most of us have found difficult at times. It is rooted in the mutual love between Jesus and us. This is no superficial love, but one that goes to the core of our being. It is a love which affects all that we do and say, and gets us to put our life on the line for our friends, here meant to include both Christ and other followers of Christ. It is a love that is unreservedly loyal to Christ Jesus.

One result of our having such love is that Christ's joy becomes our joy, and our joy fully matures. This to me means an abiding, undergirding joy which stays with us no matter what circumstances we are in. When we live fully in Christ's love, are intimately at home in it as Peterson expresses it in this translation, it is at the center of our lives and nothing can move us out of it.

Another result of our having such love is that we bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. We become ambassadors of Christ's love in the world, showing in our lives who God is and how much He cares for each person. We are enabled to pray effectively, with God giving us whatever we ask in relation to Christ. Christ's work, demonstrated in the flesh by Jesus two millennia ago, continues in its full power through us.

Dear friends, may we be intimately at home in Christ's love. May we love our brothers and sisters in Christ as fully as Christ loves us. May Christ's love for the world be manifest in our lives.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2003 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:02:56 EST