One of the things I love the most about John 15 is the way Jesus makes the intangible visual and tangible and real. For example, LOVE. We know love as an emotion. We know it is real, but it isn’t something that we can visualize or touch, much less “remain in”.
But, Jesus explains that LOVE is like a HOME, and not just any home, but God’s home. It is a real and tangible place. It is a safe place. It is a place we are with God, in His presence, in His Home. It is a place for us, where we have our own room, just like home. It is a safe place.
But, we are a people prone to wander. The grass appears greener in other places (even though it is dead grass painted green). And we walk out the front door. Sometimes we think we are just sneaking out for a short time, other times we reject the Father to His face and run away. But just as in the story of the prodigal son, the Father keeps our room ready for us to return and be welcomed back.
One other thing I want to point out from this verses is the interpretation of the word “if” in verse 14. Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” The word here is if, not when. The other translation of the Greek word used here is “whosoever”. The message is NOT “when you obey me you are my friend and when you don’t you are not.” But, instead, Jesus is saying, ‘those who choose to love me show it by obeying my commands (such as loving one another, such as remaining in the Father’s love), and not only will they not be rejected by me, but I will call them my friends.’ Think about this from the perspective of who Jesus is. He is the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. But those who choose to come under Him are not only His subjects and servants (as would be the case with other Kings), but He promises that we will be His Friends.
Friends get invited to dinner. Friends become part of the family. Friends get a seat at the table and, ultimately, get adopted as brothers and sisters.
Love is a home. It is a place to dwell in occupied by God. It is a place to remain. It is something to share, to bring others in to. As the song says, it is a big, big house!
It is what Jesus commands. It is what Jesus did for us (and them). It is the only way to share the gospel. You cannot share the good news in hate or as a weapon against others. You can’t share it by throwing it over the fence, emailing it out. You share it by sharing Christ’s love. It is not our love that is the key, it is the love of Jesus Christ.
To be His friends. We were appointed that we might go and bear fruit, everlasting fruit. When we ask He will empower us in anything that is needed for that mission. It starts with Love.