Studies in the Gospel of John
Lesson 43: “Friends”
As we come to the midpoint of the Gospel of John we find Him preparing His disciples for His departure from the earth. And he approached it much like Luke described the conversation that He had had in His visit with Moses and Elijah. Luke says that “they spoke of His decease, which He would accomplish at Jerusalem. In chapter 14 he told them that they would actually be better off without Him, for at least two reasons. First, because He would send the Holy Spirit to take His place, and second because they would be allowed to ask the Father for anything, if they asked it in His name.
Now in this chapter he takes that same approach. Here he gives them 3 illustrations of what their relationship will be after His return to heaven. First, He says in verses 1 through 8, it will be a relationship of fruitfulness. Now in verses 9 through 17 He says it will be a relationship of friendship.
So let’s look at this relationship of friendship in verses 9 through 17. First He makes a comparison in verses 9 and 10 The person in the comparison is in verse 9a
“As he Father has loved me, so have I loved you”
Interestingly enough, that love between the Father and the Son is described in Proverbs 8:22-31
The LORD possessed Me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. (23) I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. (24) When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water (25) Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth (26) While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world, (27) When He prepared the heavens I was there. When He drew a circle on the face of the deep (28) When He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep (29) When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, (30) then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; rejoicing always before Him, (31) rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.
The essence of the passage is in verses 30 and 31 – isn’t it amazing that God the Father and God the Son rejoice in each other’s presence – and infinitely more amazing is that they have drawn us humans into the mix! Then the process in the comparison is in verses 9b and 10
Abide in my love (10)” If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s you will abide in my love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love
What does it mean to “abide in my love?” Verse 10 says it simply: keep my commandments” It sounds impossible – so it doesn’t even register with most people, even those who have tried. But remember the context: – verses 1 through 8: “the helper”; the Holy spirit. The key ingredient is knowing what the commandments are to begin with. But remember that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will “teach us what Jesus has taught and remind us of it when we need it. Galatians 5:16 tells us how to put all this together.
This I say then, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh
Notice the wording of this verse: walk in the Spirit.” Think about what is involved in walking: (which most of us rarely do). We think of walking as “an action.” But actually it is a series of actions. One step at a time over and over again
So as we read and study God’s word (“His commandments” in the words of this passage) the Holy Spirit teaches us what they mean. Then when we decide to obey one of them the Holy Spirit reminds us of the commandment, and then He gives us the strength to obey it. And when we do obey it, we have taken a step in the Spirit. So walking in the Spirit is simply a process of obeying the Holy Spirit over and over again. And as we put that into practice to the place that it is habitual, we actually find ourselves “ABIDING” in the power of the Spirit.”
With that in mind, verses 15 through 17 bring a wonderful communication from Jesus. The object of the communication is in verse 15.
No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends.
The essence of the subject is in two phases separated by a few words. What is a friend anyway?
For a servant does not know what his master is doing; for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
The key element of friendship is communication – (who do you feel like talking to, the world, or Christians?)
The Bible is God’s communication to us. It contains everything we need to know about – John 20:30 and 31
And II Peter says it contains everything we need for Godly living.
The best part of friendship is the origination of the subject. Look at verses 16 and 17
(16) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bar fruit and that your fruit should remain that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He may give it you. (17) These things I command you, that you love one another.
It is one thing to have a friendship that you pursue and work at – and there is some legitimacy to that. But a treasured friendship is one in which we are pursued (although eventually the line between pursued and pursuer blurs)