Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 39

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 15:15-17 NASB. I know these are just two verses but there is a lot more in these two verses than one might suspect.

John 15:15-17 NASB reads as follows:”No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.”

Previously in John 12:26 and John 13:13-16 Jesus had addressed His disciples as servants, but now He deliberately calls His disciples “friends” and He tells us why. A servant is not given reasons why they are told what they are to do, they are just told and expected to respond as directed, but a friend, a close confidant, is given the reasons, and the reasons have been made known to the disciples because “all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you”. You recall that Jesus had previously explained to His disciples that the words that He spoke and the things that He did, were not of His own violation, but in fact, were the words that He had been given by the Father to speak and the actions He did, were in accordance with what the Father showed and told Jesus to do.

You recall that in John 5:19 NASB, Jesus said the following: “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way“ (Emphasis is mine) And in John 12:49 NASB Jesus said: “For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (Emphasis is mine)

So when Jesus says “because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”, Jesus is letting them know that all that He has explained to them and all that He has shown them, is directly from God the Father, and by Jesus conveying to them the words of the Father, Jesus is fulfilling God the Father’s COMMANDMENT to Himself, and this is why Jesus does what He does and says what He says.

It kind of puts a deeper understanding behind when Jesus said to Philip, “… The one who has seen me has seen the Father…”, in John 14:9 doesn’t it?

And then, in John 15:16-17 NASB, Jesus says the following:
”You did not choose Me but I chose you
, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.” (Emphasis is mine)

Considering that the words that Jesus speaks are given to Him by God the Father, WHO ACTUALLY DID THE CHOOSING, was it Jesus or was it God the Father? Consider John 17:12 which reads as follows: “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name, WHICH YOU HAD GIVEN ME; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” (Emphasis is mine) AND WHAT DID JESUS SAY HE DID BY HIMSELF? John 5:19 “…the Son can do nothing of Himself…”

If Jesus could do nothing in Himself and Jesus tells us that without Him, we can do nothing, the source of all that is good comes from who? Exactly, God the Father, who alone is good. And do we have this collaborated with God’s Holy Word? Consider Mark 10:18 NASB where Jesus says: “But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

Also notice that when we ask of the Father, we ask in Jesus name and that Jesus kept the chosen disciples given to Him, in the Father’s name. I trust you recall how when Jesus says “Truly, Truly” or “Verily, Verily”, Jesus is pointing out something that we REALLY need to comprehend.

All this in two Scripture verses and we’re not finished yet!

Another aspect of Verse 16 is that it is often used as an example of demonstrating God’s sovereignty with regard to the calling of the Elect of God. And in this particular case, it would be difficult to deny that Jesus is indicating that He is the one who chose them (indirectly through the Father), and as we know, they responded by following Him when called. This is one of those verses that illustrates, in my mind, a possible contradiction between the exercise of man’s free will and God’s sovereignty.

I don’t really want to go into the pros and cons of Calvinism (which I will admit that I am not really a fan of) at this point in time, so if you can bear with me, I’m just going to state that I do believe that Jesus called the disciples who God the Father had given Him, who would be the 12 Apostles, knowing how they would respond and predestined them to fulfill the work that He called them to do as per Romans 8:29. I will also state that I do believe that God can and does, at times, exercise His sovereignty, which may in fact supersede man’s free will, but at the same time, I also see man’s free will, most times, being exercised as a required prerequisite of choice. And my reasoning for this two fold perspective is that I do see both God’s sovereignty and man’s free will being exercised in God’s Holy Word.

And then of course, in John 15:17 we have Jesus commanding us to love one another. A “Commandment” from Jesus is NOT optional. The Amplified Study Bible (which I frequently use to cross reference with the NASB) translates John 15:17 as follows: “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”

The reason why I put this other translation in here is that God’s love is demonstrated towards us (For God so loved the world . . .) where He unselfishly seeks the best for us, and far too often, we have a tendency to put and keep ourselves in the forefront of our selfish reasonings. Philippians 2:3 NASB comes to mind: “ Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves;” When it comes to how we, as Christians, interact with one another, the “love” that we are to have for one another, really needs to be more focused on what is truly best for others in the long run. Considering that Jesus states this is His commandment, I’m thinking that much of the tone of our interaction with one another, would significantly change, if this objective was our primary focus. Just something to be mindful of.

That concludes my commentary for these two Scripture verses. As always, I’m open to your comments.

More to follow.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

10 comments

  1. Regarding “election”, Calvinism/Arminianism, one must consider the example of Judas Iscariot. Was he not ‘called’?

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    • Yes he was called, Craig, but he was also lost, so that Scripture would be fulfilled. Is he an example of God’s sovereignty? Luke 22:3-6 says that then Satan entered Judas and that he consented, so it could also possibly be a case of God’s foreknowledge and use of him to accomplish the fulfillment of prophecy. I’m thinking that conjecture is the best we can indicate because neither you or I actually know if it was God’s sovereignty being exercised or Judas’s free will that was the deciding factor. Open to your thoughts. Blessings.

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