Reflections: Friendship is a product of love In the moments leading up to this passage (vv. 1-8), Jesus had been teaching that the mark of being one of his disciples is fruitfulness. He uses an agricultural metaphor to demonstrate his point: God is the gardener, watering and caring for the vine; Jesus is the true vine; and his disciples are the branches of the vine. What flows through the vine flows through the branches, and the branches bear fruit.
Jesus is saying that his disciples will bear fruit that reflects who he is. Jesus then goes on to talk about love. In verse 9 it’s clear that just as the Father loved Jesus, Jesus has loved the disciples. And he wants them to remain in his love. But how are they to remain in his love? By loving each other as Jesus has loved them (v. 12). The Father loved Jesus, Jesus loved his disciples, and Jesus commands his disciples to love each other just has he has loved them. We see love flow from the gardener to the vine to the branches. Maybe you’re wondering how this relates to friendship? Well, look at what Jesus says next: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (vv. 13-14) And we know Jesus’ command is that they love each other as he has
loved them (v. 12). It’s in the context of love that friendship exists. Jesus seems to be suggesting that you can’t be a friend without love. Friendship doesn’t stand alone as a concept. Love and friendship go hand in hand. Jesus showed this love by going to the cross for his friends.
Questions: How does knowing that you can’t be a friend without love change your understanding of friendship? What steps could you take to cultivate loving friendships?
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the gift of friendship. Thank you for sending your Son who is the model of friendship, the friend who loved the most. Please help me to be a loving friend like Jesus. Amen.
We’re reading the Bible until June 30th with Caitlin Orr. Caitlin is an Assistant Minister at Watsons Bay Anglican Church in Sydney.