Jesus' farewell address to the disciples, Jn. 13:31-17:26, is one of the grandest passages in the Gospels. Mt. 5-7 is called the Sermon on the Mount. This passage in John could be called Jesus' last sermon to His disciples. This passage is remarkably serene although Judas was about to betray Jesus, the other disciples were about to abandon Him, and He was about to be arrested unjustly as a criminal. Jesus truly trusted in His Father.
2. Jn. 15:1-8 is the passage about Jesus the Vine and Christians who are His branches. Christians are already clean because of Jesus' Word. And by abiding in Jesus they bear much fruit. He says in vs. 5: "Without Me you can do nothing." Our good works are Jesus' gift to us. He prepared these works long ago. Eph. 2:10.
3. In vss. 9-17 Jesus dwells on a threefold relationship:
This could be called the family of God.
4. In these vss. the verb for "to love" occurs five times and the noun "love" occurs four times. It is the verb and noun (in Greek) which is used only of God, of Christ and of Christians. We like people because they please us. We like our friends because we enjoy them. But Christian love is more than that. Jn. 3:16 does not say that God liked the world. It did not please Him. But He loved the world. He saved it in all its misery. Jn. 13:1 tells us that Jesus loved His disciples to the end. He did not always like what they did. They did not always please Him. But He always did, said and thought what was best for them. Christians are told to love one another. They love each other even though they are not personal friends. They love each other even though they do not always please each other. They do, say and think what is best for others. Husbands are told to love their wives. Eph. 5:28. They must do more than to like them. Husbands and wives do not always please each other. But they must always love each other. They must do, say and think what is best for each other. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. He gave Himself for the Church. Eph. 5:25. Christians are even told to love their enemies. They need not be their friends. The enemies surely do not please them. But Christians must love their enemies. How do they do that? Read Lk. 6:27-35. When enemies curse Christians, they must bless them. When enemies insult them, they must pray for them. Christians return good for evil. They are merciful as is their heavenly Father. Christ prayed for His enemies while He was being crucified. Lk. 23:34. He is our model. Our text today is about the love of God in the family of God.
5.Three times our text says "just as--so also", vss. 9, 10 and 12. Jesus loved us just as the Father loved Him. We are to keep His Word and abide in His love just as Jesus kept His Father's Word and abode in His love. And, we are to love one another just as Christ loved us. The love of God, Christ and Christians is as high as the heavens.
6. The word "commandments" in vss. 10 and 12, in Greek, is not the same word as "commandments" in the Ten Commandments. The commandments in the Ten Commandments tell us what we are to do, not to do and how we are to be. But the Gospel tells us what God has done and still does for our salvation. The word "commandments" in vss. 10 and 12 (entolai in Greek) covers both law and Gospel. It means God's Word which tells us to believe in both law and Gospel. It means God's Word which tells us to believe in what God did for us and to do what God wills. Vs. 10 clearly shows that God wants us to do His will and to remain in His love, the Gospel which tells us what God has done for us.
7. From eternity Christ chose us to go for Him, bear fruit to Him, and to pray [to] the Father in Jesus' name. Vs. 16. We are Jesus' friends. Vs. 15. He keeps nothing from us. He told us all that the Father told Him.
THEME: The Family of God, A Family of Love
The noun "love" in John's Gospel occurs only in 13:31-17:26, Jesus' final words to His disciples. See 13:35; 15:188.8.131.52. The verb "to love" occurs with highest frequency in this section. See 13:1.23.34; 14:184.108.40.206.28.31; 15:9.12.17; 17:23.24.26. See also 3:16.35; 8:42; 10:17. The Father loved the Son. He saved Him from sin, death and the devil. The Son loved all men. As their substitute He saved them from sin, death and the devil. Christians love each other. They do, say and think what is best for each other. Christians love God by trusting in Him. See 14:28; 8:42. The love of the Father equipped Christ and saved Him. The love of Christ for the world redeemed the world. And the love of Christian for Christian is a gift of God whereby they serve each other.
I. THE FATHER LOVES THE SON OF GOD
He calls Him His beloved Son. See Mt. 3:17 and 17:5. It was even prophesied by Isaiah. See 12:18-20. He equipped Him for His work. That love is mentioned at Jn. 15:9 and 17:23.24.26. The Father loved the Son from eternity. This love sent the Son into the world as a human being. Jn. 3:16. Jn. 3:35 tells us that the Father loved the Son, namely He put everything into the power and hands of the God-man. That's why Jesus could forgive sins. That's why Jesus could perform miracles. That's why He could die and rise again, conqueror over sin, death and the devil. Jesus was often in extreme danger both as a baby and as an adult. Satan tried to kill Him. The Jews hated Him because He showed them their sins and said that He was God's Son. But the Father protected, strengthened and saved the Son in these great dangers. Jesus says: "For this reason the Gather loves Me because I lay down My life in order that I might take it again." The world is blind to this love. They called Jesus' Words the words of a demon. Jn. 10:19-20. But others disagreed. They had witnessed a miracle. Vs. 21. This love of the Father unites believers and Christ. Jn. 17:26.
II. THE SON OF GOD LOVES THE FATHER
Ps. 22:8 says about the God-man, Christ He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him." Jesus' enemies quoted this vs. when He was on the cross but they added: "If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross and we will believe Him." These enemies could plainly see that Jesus trusted the Father, loved Him unto death. But they rejected it. Read all of Ps. 22 and 69, prophecies of Christ. Vs. 10 of our text says that Jesus remained in the Father's love. He trusted the Father's love and protection. The love of the Father and the love of Jesus caused Jesus to keep the Father's Word and to lay down His life for all people. In that sense He is My Friend. vs. 13. He sacrificed His life to forgive me and to give me eternal life. He is my friend because He has told me all that the Father told Him to tell me. Vs. 15. There are no secrets between Jesus and me. That's real love. He chose me before I was born (vs. 16) so that I might bear fruit which will endure in all eternity. That's real love.
III. CHILDREN OF GOD LOVE GOD AND EACH OTHER
Jesus says: "Remain in My love. Vs. 9. That means: "Trust in Me for your salvation." I love God by believing in Him and His Word. This relationship bears joy, everlasting joy. Jesus says: "I have spoken to you so that My joy might be in you and so that your joy be complete." We find complete joy only by believing in Jesus and His Word. We have already mentioned that God's love in Christ causes us to bear fruit, vs. 16, the works which He prepared and gave to us, Eph. 2:10. And now He tells us to ask anything we want, in His name. That is prayer, talking to Jesus. Finally, we are to love one another. We cannot produce true love. Only the Gospel can do that. That is why Jesus says: "If you keep my commandants, remain in My love." We must remain in the Gospel which causes us to love one another. Jesus commands us to love. Vs. 17. The world recognizes Christians by the way they treat each other. They are a family of love with Father and Son.