15.01.02 Jn. 15:9-17
COMMAND TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.
11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 17 This is what I command you: Love one another.
Evidently, John’s later years were spent in Ephesus, before he was banished to the island of Patmos. While in Ephesus, even as his health began to fail in old age, he continued to remind the believers to love one another as recorded by Jerome. John apparently thought this was an important teaching he had to pass on to the church.
When the blessed evangelist John, the apostle, had lived in Ephesus into his extreme old age and could hardly be carried to the meetings of the church by the disciples anymore, and when speaking he could no longer put together many words, he would not say anything else in the different meetings but this: “Little children, love one another!” When at last the disciple and brothers present got tired of hearing the same thing again and again, they said, “Master why do you keep saying the same thing?” John replied with a saying worthy of him: “Because it is the Lord’s command, and it is enough if it is really done.”
Jerome, Commentary on Galatians
“I do not call you slaves anymore…friends” The Hebrew word doulos is at times translated as slave although servant is a better word. Furthermore, it is a slave or servant of the highest honor. For example, Moses was a doulos of God (Deut. 34:5). Jesus now calls His closest disciples and other followers friends because friends have a choice to whom they give their affection and loyalty, slaves do not. The word friends is translated from the Greek term philon, which represents more than a passing friend; it is a dear friend, a cherished friend, as someone special to the heart. This is a unique concept in that no longer are believers servants of God, but they hold a cherished position of being a friend of God as did Abraham (Jas. 2:23) and Moses (Ex. 33:11).
. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 164.
. Other examples are Joshua in Joshua 24:29, David (Ps. 89:20), the Apostle Paul (Titus 1:1), and James (Jas. 1:1).
. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 229.