Yesterday, in worship, we picked up where we left off in John 15 from the previous Sunday. In the service a week ago, Jesus described himself as the vine and we are the branches. Now, following those metaphors, Jesus said this to his disciples, “I do not call you serv- ants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends.” Wow! Now that is some statement. That is some honor. Jesus elevated his disciples from worker bees to intimate companions.
And with this new status, Jesus laid out his expecta- tions for his friends. He speaks to them of loving obe- dience. He talks to them of his high hope for their faithfulness to him. No free lunch here. His new friendship requires the disciples to be part of his re- deeming, resurrecting work. We did not choose Jesus; Jesus chose us. God in Christ reached out to us and made us into followers. We love because God first loved us. We, who were once wary of God’s ways, are now beckoned to be close to Jesus.
Sometimes in the modern church we forget that we are to do more than love Jesus. We are to obey him. Obedience is not a favorite word in our freedom- loving, independent culture. Yet, Jesus commands us. He loves us enough to demand that we act according to his dictates. We don’t follow Jesus just see how
helpful he can be to us. Christians are those who follow Jesus in obedience, confident that when we obey him, we are fulfilling what God wants to get out of the world. We don’t have to follow Jesus; we get to! It’s a privilege. And the bonus is that we are called his friends!
Peace, Pastor Gary