These amazing words were spoken by our Lord as He led the Disciples toward Gethsemane following the Passover meal. Unbeknownst to them, they were on the precipice of an experience that would test them all as their world would, in the next few hours, be rocked by His arrest, brutal torture and horrifying crucifixion.
The tenor and content of His words to them that evening leave me feeling almost as if I’m hearing the voice of a trusted military commander giving a pre-mission briefing to the soldiers with whom he had spent a long and intense season of training.
Like a military commander, He doesn’t sugar-coat the dangers and difficulties ahead. Instead, He prepares them for the cruel and unsympathetic nature of the battlefield and stresses again the fundamentals that will allow them to survive and accomplish their mission. It’s “game time” and things are about to get “real”!
Jesus, like a good military commander, also expresses His confidence in the men at His side. He knows that if they remember to practice and trust in the principles their training has “instilled” in them that they would be victorious!
Even today, over 2,000 years removed from that fateful evening, His words ring out loud and clear in our troubled generation. We, like those who have gone before us, must deal with the “fog of war” on our own battlefields.
The words Peter, James, John and eight others heard on that horrible night are as relevant, as they are necessary, in the hours, months and years ahead of each of us who walk with Jesus today!
So, let’s listen in carefully as our Commander speaks…
More than likely, these particular words to the disciples that evening were uttered as they walked past the Temple, where the sculpture of a vine, representing the Nation of Israel decorated the edifice of the Temple. It featured golden clusters of grapes. Most people dreamed of being able to contribute a sum of money that would finance one or a cluster of golden grapes to be added to that vine in the name of their family.
Jesus talks instead of fruit that would glorify, not just our family, but our Father! Something everyone of all socio-economic groups could and should strive to accomplish!
What follows is a beautifully powerful mission objective defining procedures and priorities in a short statement of 180 words.
Key thoughts of this passage:
To “abide”… means to (“stay in a given place or state, expectancy, relation, to continue, remain and endure”)
The warning associated with this is that “you cannot survive and bear fruit by yourself!”
Jesus expands on the importance of the love/obedience connection, in essence obeying will enable us to “abide” in His love.
When we do these things, we will know what it means, on an ongoing basis, to live our lives experiencing the “joy of the Lord.”
An amazing invitation to intimacy begins with obeying Jesus and laying down our lives for others. But then Jesus intimates that He doesn’t want just “servants” who have no idea what the “Master” is doing. He calls us “friends” if the previous conditions are met!
This particular term for “friends” in the language of that day would have been recognized as the term for the “friends of the King.” These were individuals who had access to the King at any time. These were the closest and most trusted relationships in the King’s world!
He chose you for this amazing relationship and mission!
Love each other…close ranks…understand the nature of the conflict…try to not take it personally…you’re taking fire because of Me! But, be encouraged, reinforcements have arrived…The “Helper” is here!
Advanced techniques and strategies…