by Ben Huberman
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
I am a woman who is truly blessed. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are wonderful, and would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them too. My husband of 35 years has been my best friend, and rock, through many trials in my life. Frankly, I don’t know how I could have gotten through many of those trials, if it hadn’t been for him.
Yet, much as I love my husband, when I read the prompt, “friend,” the One that I thought of was Jesus. Jesus knew me before I was born.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
When I think about that, it blows my mind. I don’t know you, but I do know me, and if I’m going to be totally honest with you, I was not born holy and without fault. In my life, I’ve lied and cheated, cursed God and others, and murdered those whom I hated in my heart. Yet, in spite of this, Jesus chose me!
16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.
Not only did He choose me, but He chose me to be holy and without fault in His eyes, and the only way for me to be holy and without fault, would be for Him to recreate me. And, He did just that!
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through Him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through Him and for Him...
… 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.
Imagine that! I was an enemy of Christ, yet He chose me! Then, through His death and resurrection, He changed me and brought me into His presence and presented me holy and blameless, without a single fault to His Father. How amazing!
Yet, as wonderful, merciful and kind as all of this was, it wasn’t enough for my Savior. I would have been happy to be His servant all the days of my life, but Jesus had a better plan…
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.
This scripture passage explains the relationship I have with my best Friend, Jesus. The first sentence sums up His feelings for me, when He says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me.” Jesus is the One and only Son of God, the Father, and here, He states unequivocally, that He loves me (and all of His disciples), the same way His Father loves Him.
As a woman, I can’t say that I know for certain how a father loves his son. However, I would imagine that a father’s love for his son would certainly be as strong as a mother’s love for her son, and as a mother, I have a fierce love for my children. I would go to war to protect my children from harm, and when I think of the love God has for His Son, I know that it must be stronger than you and I could ever imagine. Therefore, when Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me,” He was speaking as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He was speaking of a strong and passionate love, that we cannot, in the frailty of our human emotions and thoughts, even begin to conceive.
Jesus then ordered His disciples (all who love Him and follow Him), to remain in His love. The Greek word for “remain” in this passage is menō, which means:
to remain, abide
in reference to place
to sojourn, tarry
not to depart
to continue to be present
to be held, kept, continually
in reference to time
to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
of persons, to survive, live
in reference to state or condition
to remain as one, not to become another or different
to wait for, await one
When we examine the Greek meaning for this word, we get a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when He ordered His disciples (those of us who follow Him too!) to remain in His love. He was saying, “Stay here in My love. Don’t depart from My love. Tarry (wait) in My love. Continually be present, here in My love. Endure, survive, live in My love. Remain as you are now, in My love. Wait, here in My love for Me.”
He was essentially saying that He wants us to remain in His love, just as He remains in His Father’s love. In other words, He wasn’t asking us to do anything more than He did, by remaining in His Fathers love. Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be, than in the midst of His love.
So, how does one go about remaining in Jesus’ love? He makes this abundantly clear to us…
10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
The way to remain in Christ’s love is to obey Him. Obedience isn’t a very popular concept in today’s culture. Indeed, most people prefer to live in total rebellion to God’s word. Yet Jesus says that if we obey His commandments, we remain in His love, as He obeys His Father’s commands and remains in His love. Many people look at obedience as drudgery, but Jesus’ outlook on obedience was entirely different…
11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
He wants us to be filled with His joy, so He tells us to obey Him and remain in His love, so that our joy will overflow! So, what exactly are we supposed to obey, in order to be filled with this overflowing joy???
12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus’ commandment is a very simple one. We are commanded to love each other, the same way He has loved us, stating that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We are afforded the hindsight to understand that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the night before He was crucified. They had no way of knowing, as we do, that Jesus was getting ready to demonstrate His great love for His beloved friends, (which includes every disciple then and since then), by laying down His own life, for all of mankind…
Then, He finishes this discourse by telling His disciples how much they (and we) meant to Him…
14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a Master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.
If I remain in Christ’s love, by loving my fellow disciples, then I am no longer merely His servant. When I am obedient to His command to love one another, I have become a friend of Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is as I remain in the love of my best Friend, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I am able to love others, as He loved me. It is because of His great love, (He calls me His friend!), that I am filled to overflowing with unending joy. How thankful I am to have the Friend, who sticks closer than a brother.
Cheryl A. Showers