12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:12-17)
Jesus wants his disciples to love one another. He lays his own life in love for his friends. He doesn’t do this for servants but for friends. It is the love he has for you. And it is because of this love that he has chosen you. He tells the disciple that he has chosen them, and appointed them to bear fruit. This is true of all his disciples. He chooses us. He chooses you. It’s a matter who is in authority, who is in charge. A general looking for recruits has the prerogative. If the recruit doesn’t meet his standards then he is not chosen however much he might want to be chosen. Luckily for us, the only qualification that Jesus has is that we be sinners in need of forgiveness. He didn’t come to heal those who are well but those are sick. This is his love, that despite our sin he laid down his life for us, while we were yet sinners! This is his love, forgiveness. This is the love we are to emulate. It isn’t easy. It’s often very hard, especially in a small congregation. People step on each other’s toes. Things aren’t always done the way we think they should be done. People start throwing accusations, people get their feelings hurt. And it isn’t always easy to forgive when everything is said and done. Yet, Christ forgives us all, and we all receive his love in communion. There we receive the strength to forgive each other, to love one another despite our differences. Jesus knows our weakness. He knows our sin. But if we cut ourselves off from his love, we will never have it in us to love each other as he has loved us.