The Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 15:12-17

Chosen to Bear Fruit

Jesus has been telling us this whole time that if we love him we will keep his commandments.  Now, he now does us the favor of stating what that commandment is, and it is no different than what we have heard from him before: “This is my commandment, that you love one another,” and then adds, “as I have loved you,” as the perfect example of such love.  Jesus said on another occasion, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:34-40).  But it seems to me at least that now this love even takes on a greater depth, because he applies it to the family of faith.  It is the disciples, the people of God themselves, who are to love one another with an all-encompassing love (John 13:35; Galatians 6:10).  And the greatest expression of this love is laying down one’s life for one’s friends, which, of course, is what Jesus will do for them.

And to the extent that we keep this commandment – loving one another – to that extent are we his friends.  He calls us not his servants but his friends.  And he calls us friends not because we’re such agreeable people, but because he has revealed the Father to us, so that we may know the Father’s will to do it, and thereby abide in His love.

Then Jesus tells his disciples something upon which this entire discourse is predicated, and it had to be a great consolation for them.  After all, how do we fulfill his commandments?  They are too hard for us.  If we offend in one, we offend in all (James 2:10).  We are so imperfect at loving our brothers; indeed, some of them we struggle to love.  It’s the law all over again.  How shall we be saved?  And then come Jesus’ words, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”  And that’s true.  If you remember, Jesus said to one, “Follow me,” but to another, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).  But then he returns to the theme, “and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.”

So we are comforted to know that he chose us and that our salvation depends on his choosing and not on our doing.  But he quickly drops the other foot which is that he chose us so that we may bear fruit, and that by keeping his commandments, which is to love one another.  Jesus doesn’t save us to put us on his mantle; he saves us to bear fruit for his Kingdom.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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