Love and Friendship vv12-15, 17
Our love is not just residing in Christ, but to be exercised towards one another. We are commanded to love one another. A clear area of obedience. Just as Jesus’ love for us meant He was prepared to die for us, so are we to have a sacrificial love for one another. We place each other before ourselves.
However, Jesus also expands on teaching us about our relationship to Him. We are not just obedient disciples, we are friends. Once again, the obedience here is not a condition of our relationship, but evidence of it. We know that we are not just servants, but friends, because Jesus has revealed His and His Father’s plans to us. We are in on the mission. We have a role to play and an understanding of the goals that our role is intended to accomplish. A huge part of our purpose in life is to relate to others in love. We are to place others first.
Love was the defining quality of the early church. People simplistically try to claim that the church was an example of a communist culture. It wasn’t. Where capitalism says, “What is mine is mine and you can buy it,” and communism says, “What you have belongs to the community, and you can use it if we let you,” Christianity says “What is mine is given to me by God and is mine to use, and if you need it, you can have it.” We trust God to provide for our needs, and we see our role in that provision for others, trusting God to care for us.
This is where the life of discipleship in the church is so much more than attending a service hoping to obtain little bits of help for our life and our goals. We share life. The church should not be a place nor an event. It is a community of people who interact every day.