This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.…
Friendship is a relation between two parties. On both sides it is voluntary. It is mutual and reciprocal. We have seen how Christ shows his friendship towards us. We have to consider how we prove our friendship towards Christ, what he justly expects and requires from us.
I. OUR FRIENDSHIP FOR CHRIST IS SHOWN IN THE FEELINGS OF OUR HEARTS TOWARDS HIM.
1. We admire his character. In varying degree we admire the principles, the dispositions, the conduct, of our earthly friends. But inasmuch as there is no imperfection in the character of Immanuel, there is no qualification in our love towards him.
2. We are attracted by the congeniality of his nature. There is a "drawing" of heart towards him, which originates in some sympathy of disposition, and which issues in a more complete sympathy.
3. We delight in his society. Great was the privilege of the chosen twelve, who were permitted to enjoy the company of their Lord during his earthly ministry. But this fellowship is a privilege open to us, who, not having seen Jesus, yet love him. The above are ordinary manifestations of friendship. But the relation between Jesus and his people is unique, and evokes feelings altogether special. Thus:
4. We revere his Divine dignity and glory. This is growingly apprehended with growing knowledge of Christ and with growing conformity to Christ. As we approach a mountain we realize its magnitude; the nearer we draw to Christ, the more majestic and venerable does he appear to our spiritual vision.
5. We are grateful for his love and sacrifice. Gratitude does not enter as an element into ordinary human friendship, which is rather interfered with than promoted by obligations. But our indebtedness to the Lord Jesus is immeasurable, and gives its own color to the friendship subsisting between him and us.
6. We cherish devotion to him. As Christ is infinitely the superior in this spiritual kindred, it is natural that he should receive from us the consecration of heart and life.
II. OUR FRIENDSHIP FOR CHRIST IS SHOWN IN OUR OBEDIENCE TO HIM
1. This is a paradox. It seems at first sight altogether incongruous that obedience should be required of friends. The master commands his servant, but he does not command his friend. And in this very passage Jesus says, "I call you not servants, but friends"
2. Yet Jesus makes this service and submission a proof of his disciples' friendship. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." Our Lord cannot divest himself of his authority. Our Friend is a King, and he does not cease to be a King even when he toils and suffers for us.
3. The Divine law is this: Love is the best motive to obedience, and obedience is the best proof of love. A forced, mechanical service is not what Christ wants, is not what Christ will accept. It is a willing, cheerful, cordial service which he asks, and without which no worthless words and formal acts can satisfy him. It is the part of the Christian to serve his Master, but not in the spirit of a bondman; rather in that of a grateful and affectionate friend.
III. OUR FRIENDSHIP FOR CHRIST IS THE BASIS OF OUR MUTUAL FRIENDSHIP AMONG OURSELVES.
1. Here we find the motive to the friendship which is appointed as the mark of true discipleship. It is our Lord's new commandment that his disciples love one another. In this love all is comprised; it is the fulfilling of the Law. The true Church of Christ is the society which is cemented by reciprocal confidence and by brotherly love.
2. Here, too, we find the model of Christian friendship. "As I loved you." Such is the rule, such is the appeal, of our Savior. The powers that tend to separation, to distrust, to enmity, are many and mighty. ' A great, comprehensive, constant power is needed to counteract and vanquish these. This power we have in the manifested love and the uttered commandment of our redeeming Lord. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
WEB: "This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.