Lectionary Year B
May 25, 2003
John 15:9-17

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) Without question, God's love is the principal theological center of this lection. The next most significant element must be Jesus' being both the object of God's love and His being the subject who passes that divine love on to others and commands them/us to do so by obeying God's commandments and loving one another. Then, soon thereafter, we get the aspect of Christ's choosing to befriend those previously called "servants". These observations leave the few minor matters in this paragraph to include joy, Jesus' and others', laying down one's life for friends, that the master keeps secrets from servants opposite to what friends do in sharing all data, the idea of bearing fruit and of asking in Jesus' name for favors bringing results of receiving them.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 9 Just as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you; so, remain in this love of mine. 10 If you should keep my commandments so as to remain/stay/abide in my love, because I have kept My Father's Commandments and remain in His love. 11 These (statements) I have said/spoken/proclaimed to you in order that my true joy might be in you and your joy might be made full. 12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I love you. 13 Greater love (than) this love no one has, in order that someone the self/life of his would lay/put for/on behalf of his friends. 14 You are my friends since you should/would/ do what I am commanded of/to you. 15 No more/longer I call you slaves, for the servant does not know what his master does; but you I now call friends, for all I heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, rather I chose you so that you might go and bear fruit and the fruit of yours might remain/be lasting, so that whatever you might ask the Father in my name He would/should give to you. 17 These (matters) I command of you so that you would love one another.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) The 1987 movie character, "Forrest Gump" and his relationship with Jenny is helpful in dealing with this text. Throughout the movie Forrest holds a deep love for Jenny, in spite of her flaws and her trysts with others. He also befriends Lieutenant Dan through all this rebel's misery. In the end, Forrest's love prevails and the two come together in marriage. Lieutenant Dan surprisingly attends the wedding too. Furthermore, Forrest eventually cares lovingly for her as she dies. We needn't have to try to compare God with Forrest Gump, yet the simplicity of the message of love here is what longs to be stressed, rather than seeing God one who sits on a bench saying, "Life is like a box of chocolates." (adapted from a Shawn Stapleton note in The Text This Week)

| Return to Gospel text listings | Return to Epistle text listings |
| Return to Old Testament listings | Return to Psalm listings |
| User response form |