|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:9-17 Those whom God loves as a Father, may despise the hatred of all the world. As the Father loved Christ, who was most worthy, so he loved his disciples, who were unworthy. All that love the Saviour should continue in their love to him, and take all occasions to show it. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments. If the same power that first shed abroad the love of Christ's in our hearts, did not keep us in that love, we should not long abide in it. Christ's love to us should direct us to love each other. He speaks as about to give many things in charge, yet names this only; it includes many duties.
Verse 15. - No longer do I call you servants, bond-slaves. True, he had in this very discourse spoken of them as his δοῦλοι, (John 13:13, 16). Again and again in his parabolic teaching he had spoken of his disciples as servants of a Lord (Matthew 13:27; Matthew 22:4; Luke 12:37; and John 12:26, where another word is used). And moreover, later on in this very chapter (Ver. 20), the word and thought return, so that this relation to him, gloried in by St. Paul (Philippians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 7:22), St. James (James 1:1), Jude (Jude 1:1), and even St. John (Revelation 1:1), could be sustained in its integrity, even after it had been transfigured, and penetrated through and through with the light of love. Because the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. The slave is an instrument, doing by commandment, not from intimate knowledge, his Lord's behests. But you I have called (εἴρηκα) - on previous occasions (see Luke 12:4; and cf. John 11:11, "Our friend Lazarus") - friends, for whom it is joy to die, and I have effected the transfiguration of your service into love. I have raised you by the intimacy of the relations into which 1 have drawn you from the position of slave to that of friend. You may be, you must be, my servants still; I am your Master and Lord; but you will be servants from a higher motive and a more enduring link and bond of union. For all things which I heard of my Father. Notice the source of the Savior's teaching. He was sent from God, trained and taught, as a man; he chose thus, humanly, to learn step by step, thing by thing, what to reveal of his own nature, of his purpose and plan in redeeming men, concerning the essence of the Father himself, and the entire significance of his self-manifestation. That which I heard I made known unto you. This is only in apparent contradiction with John 16:12, where he implies that there will be more for them to learn in the future, when the mystery of his death, resurrection, and ascension shall have been accomplished. The limitation of the πάντα α} ἤκουσα does not consist in doctrines as opposed to practical duties, nor in the plan of salvation for individuals as antithetic to principles of his kingdom, nor in principles as distinguished from what may ultimately be found in them, but in the capacities and circumstances of the disciples themselves (John 16:12 is a corollary of this solemn assurance). The reason of the present assertion is the proof that it thus supplies of their dearness to him. "Ye are my friends." He had told them all that they could bear. He had lifted the veil high enough for their truest joy and noblest discipline. He had bared his heart to them. He had kept back nothing that was profitable. He had proved his own friendship, and thus given a conclusive reason for his complete self-devotion on their account.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Henceforth I call you not servants,.... As they and the rest of the people of God had been, under the legal dispensation; for though they were children, yet differed nothing from servants; and were very much influenced and impressed with a servile spirit, a spirit of bondage unto fear, being kept under tutors and governors by a severe discipline; but now Christ being come in the flesh, and being about to lay down his life, and make reconciliation for them, henceforward he would not use, treat, or account them as servants:
for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; designs to do, or is about to do; he is not made privy to all his counsels and purposes; these are only opened to him as necessity requires; which was pretty much the case of the Old Testament church, who, comparatively speaking, were used as servants; and had not the knowledge of the mysteries of grace, and of the counsels of God, as they are now laid open under the Gospel dispensation:
but I have called you friends; that is, accounted, reckoned of them, used them as his friends and familiar acquaintance; whom he told all his mind unto, and would go on to treat them as such; by leading them more and more, as they were able to bear it, into the designs of his grace, and the doctrines of his Gospel: just as Abraham was called the friend of God, and proved to be so, by his not concealing from him the thing he was about to do:
for all things I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you; not all that he knew as the omniscient God, for there was no necessity that all such things should be made known to them; but all things which he had delivered to him as man and Mediator, by his Father, respecting the salvation of men; all things which he himself was to do and suffer, in order to obtain eternal redemption; and the whole of the Gospel, as to the essential and substantial parts of it, they were to preach; for otherwise, there were some things which as yet they were not able to bear, and were reserved to another time, to be made known unto them by his Spirit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Henceforth I call you not servants—that is, in the sense explained in the next words; for servants He still calls them (Joh 15:20), and they delight to call themselves so, in the sense of being "under law to Christ" (1Co 9:20).
the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth—knows nothing of his master's plans and reasons, but simply receives and executes his orders.
but … friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you—admitted you to free, unrestrained fellowship, keeping back nothing from you which I have received to communicate. (Compare Ge 18:17; Ps 25:14; Isa 50:4).
John 15:15 Parallel Commentaries
John 15:15 NIV
John 15:15 NLT
John 15:15 ESV
John 15:15 NASB
John 15:15 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible