John 15:9-17 - Being friends of Jesus

Updated: Apr 16

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Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”


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This is the Gospel selection to be read aloud on the sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will culminate a set of readings, beginning with a mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles (this Sunday from chapter 10), which states, “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” That will be followed by a reading from Psalm 98, which sings, “In righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity.” Immediately before this reading, John’s first Epistle will be read, which states, “And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.”


To even begin to fully understand this reading selection, one must realize the setting and timeframe. As I have stated prior, the adult disciples had left the upper room with Jesus, drunk on Seder wine, with some perhaps bringing a jug with them [because the ritual says drink until you pass out drunk on wine]. Because John was an underage child, he and Jesus were the only ones not drunk on wine. John wrote chapters fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, all telling of things Jesus did and said after leaving the upper room, none of which are told by either Matthew or Mark. Thus, the setting is somewhere in the streets of the Essene Quarter, or outside the walls of Jerusalem, as the group slowly walked the trail from the Essene Gate to Gethsemane; and, those who went with Jesus did not include Judas Iscariot, who had left earlier to betray Jesus.


Here, again, is the Episcopal Church adds words that are not written. They do so in order to place the setting as Jesus speaking to his disciples. While that is true, the words “Jesus said to his disciples” is not written in verse 9. Last week’s Gospel reading also came from John 15, which were verses 1 – 8. In those, the Episcopal Church also added the same words, none of which were written by John. The assumption is made because Jesus refers to his “disciples” in the last word of verse 8, which bridges both readings and is who Jesus was talking to. In all of John’s fifteenth chapter, that is the only direct reference to “disciples.”


This reading ends with Jesus telling those present, “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” If one does a search on the Internet looking for where Jesus said “love one another” the answer will be John 13:34, no John 15:17. John 13:34 takes place in the upper room, where the instructions given are found in John 13:31-35, as these:


“When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is

glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify the Son in Himself—and

will glorify Him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little while longer. You will look

for Me, and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot

come.’ A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you

also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you

love one another.”’


The liberals that wear the sheep clothing, while hiding wolves underneath who seek to destroy the flock for their benefit, point to this as a global commandment, where the haters of the world will always be able to control the sheep by throwing in their faces, “Jesus said you must love me.” That can only be true if one is an Apostle, Anointed by Yahweh to be reborn as His Son, as Yahweh was speaking [always] through His Son. So, the commandment to “love one another” only applies to those who serve Yahweh, by supporting the ministry of His Son. It is imperative to realize that Jesus did not say this order to Judas Iscariot, who was a traitor, just like all who pretend to be Christians when they serve no gods other than their own selves. Because Judas had left, Jesus said this only to those who were true servants of Yahweh. Thus, this is not intended to be a global message for the whole world to follow - only true Christians.


Last Sunday [the fifth Sunday of Easter], the Epistle reading came from First John, chapter 4, where the repeated word of note was “love.” In these selected verses from John 15 are nine references stating “love” or “loved.” Based on what John wrote in his Epistle, and knowing John was the one sober and recording what Jesus said here to his disciples [and himself], the meaning of “love” must be understood as being exactly the same.


The word “love” cannot be defined in human physical emotional sensations, because the “love” Jesus spoke of [as Yahweh speaking through the mouth of His Son] was the presence of Yahweh’s Spirit and the “love” of eternal salvation given to a soul. Such “love” is given because a soul reciprocates “love” through marriage to Yahweh and submission into His service. That concept of “love” must be maintained when analyzing these words spoken by Jesus to his disciples [and all readers today should feel Jesus speaking to them equally].


Verse 9 can be seen as affirming that concept, as the NRSV translates Jesus as saying, “ As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” This must be seen as Yahweh speaking through the Son, such that Jesus has received the “love of God,” but the “love of God” is only God’s to give. Jesus is not asking anyone to marry him physically, out of “love.”


When the last segment says, “abide in my love,” the “love” of Jesus IS the “love of Yahweh.” So, Jesus said to marry God out of “love” and receive “eternal love” by “abiding in God’s love.” The meaning of "meinate," or "abide," says "remain, stay, wait," which is the essence of "union," where two have become one. Thus, to "abide in my love" is a command to "wait" until the "love" of Jesus has resurrected within a wife [human gender non-specific] of Yahweh.


Verse 10 then goes on to translate Jesus saying, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” The Greek word “entolas” is translated as “commandments,” which must be seen as relative to the laws of Yahweh, from which the true boundaries of righteousness are set.


Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) That makes Jesus be the example of one who keeps the commandments of Yahweh and thereby lives [abides] "in His love.” Jesus then told his disciples to become him reborn, in an indirect manner.


The NRSV then has verse 11 stating, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” This translation ignores the capitalized word that has been translated as “these things.”


The Greek text shows verse 11 beginning with “Tauta,” which is the nominative plural form of “hoûtos,” meaning “These.” While “things” might be an applicable generality for “commandments,” the divine essence given reflects back on “Those” who abide in Yahweh, through their soul’s marriage to His Spirit. Thus, the literal Greek needs to be further inspected to identify “These.”


The Greek text of verse 11 is this: “Tauta lelalēka hymin , hina hē chara hē emē en hymin ē , kai hē chara hymōn plērōthē .” That literally translates to state: “These I have talked about to you , so that this source of joy this mine in you may exist , kai this source of joy yours may be fulfilled .” There are three segments of words in this verse, the first of which addresses “These,” which are Yahweh’s “commandments” that have been written in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets. "These" are what the Jews read some of each Sabbath. “These” are divinely elevated to the sermons Jesus preached [publicly and privately], which taught the disciples – rabbi to pupils.


When one understands the first segment of words as being relative to Jesus’ ability to know Scripture and its meaning, through his marriage to Yahweh’s Spirit, that marriage is “the source of joy” [“chara”] that Jesus wants to share with his students. The third segment of words is then separated by comma and introduced by the word “kai,” which states importance to follow. That importance is stating the sole purpose of Jesus teaching the meaning of Scripture to his students is so they too can become married to Yahweh’s Spirit and become the fulfillment of Jesus reborn into them. They will then know personally the presence of Yahweh, the greatest “joy” imaginable.


Verse 12 then has Jesus telling his disciples, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” While this becomes the mantra of those who hate Christianity and is an impossible command to make upon people whose souls only know self, not Yahweh through marriage with their souls, the reality is the written text ignores more capitalization, meaning this verse also needs inspection of the Greek.


The Greek text written by John is this: “Hautē estin hē entolē hē emē , hina agapate allēlous kathōs ēgapēsa hymas .” In this, the word “Hautē” is the feminine singular form of “hoûtos,” being similar to the nominative plural for “Tauta.” Now the focus is divinely elevated to become a statement of “This,” which relates back directly to the importance of Yahweh’s “source of joy may be fulfilled” in the disciples of Jesus. “This” then becomes a “state of being” or an “existence,” which is how the word “estin” must be read. It is “This being” that is “this commandment” given, which is both “this mine” of Jesus and Yahweh.


With the first segment of words understood as Jesus-Yahweh setting forth the expectation, as a “command” or “order” or “instruction” to the disciples, the following segment of words says, “in order that you love each other according to the manner in which I have loved you.” This translation paints a clearer picture that without “being This” fulfillment of marriage with Yahweh’s Spirit, one cannot possibly “love as has Jesus loved.”


“This” fulfillment of a “command” to marry Yahweh makes it possible, “in order that” [“hina”] “you love” as one being with Yahweh, so all of “you love” as each married to Yahweh, so the “love of God” reverberates throughout “each other” or “one another,” as Jesus times eleven [plus John]. At no time during the three years prior, during the ministry of Jesus, did he display any other form of “love” than that “of Yahweh,” meaning all definitions of human “love” can never be applied to this verse [or any other in the New Testament]. The definition of this “love” can only be known by a soul married to Yahweh, at which point definitions cannot be constructed that equate to personal experience of Yahweh, other than “the love of God.”


This assessment is then stated in verse 13, as: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The way this translation appears, it makes one think Jesus suggested “love” is measured by how much one is willing to die for his “friends.” That is not the truth of what John wrote, which is what Yahweh said through Jesus.


The wording that says, “no one has greater love than this,” seems to be a phrase setting up the next phrase; but what was actually said is this: “in the widest sense of this love nothing has.” That says there can be no defining the “love” of which Jesus spoke, because it has “nothing” to do with being based in human emotions. A human understanding of "love" is not equivalent to "God's love."


The people who insert headings to the verses of Scripture, which guides the readers to get an idea about what the following verses will tell, have inserted one between verse 12 and verse 13. The BibleHub Interlinear site shows verse 13 beginning a section that explains “Greater Love has No One than This.” Other versions do not add such headings, but they place space between certain verses, as if to silently say, “These verses should be looked at separately.” That is misleading, as it gives the impression that Jesus paused while speaking about the commandment that the disciples marry their souls to Yahweh and love each other as brothers born of the same “love” – “God’s love.”


With that having been stated in verse 12, it makes verse 13 a perfect continuation of that line of thought, by saying, “The love I am talking about cannot be known by human beings, as it is not a physical love. It is greater than that and words cannot aptly describe it.”


When that natural flow of dialogue is seen, verse 13 then separates that segment of words from the next, which then adds, “so that certain this the soul of self should establish on behalf of this of friends of self.”


Here, the Greek word “psychēn” is translated properly as “the soul,” where the NRSV has abbreviated “the breath of life” to simply say “life.” Certainly, “life” being “laid down” becomes a statement of “dying” for a friend, but when “the soul” is seen instead, a “soul” being eternal cannot “lay down” in death for anyone. A “soul” is already “laid down” in a body of flesh that is certain to die, whether or not that “soul” has any “friends.”


As I have pointed out in other postings, the word translated as “lay down” [“tithémi”] actually means, “to place, lay, set,” with usage implying “I put, place, lay, set, fix, establish.” The “soul” of Jesus was “established” by Yahweh to be the soul reborn in others, whose souls married with Yahweh’s Spirit. Jesus died on a cross; but Jesus would have died at some time, being born into a mortal body of flesh. The death of Jesus’ flesh released the “soul” that Yahweh had “established” as “God’s love” to be resurrected in others who would be reborn - like Jesus [Christs].


This is where what I wrote [last week] about Jesus asking Peter three times, “Do you love me?” is important to restate. Twice Jesus used a form of “agape,” with Peter [Simon son of John] answering both times with “philos.” Both words can translate as "love," but they are not equal statements of that word. When Jesus asked a third time, using “philos,” Peter replied once again using “philos.” This is where the difference needs to be seen as Jesus asking, “Do you have God’s love as me?” [“agape”] and Peter responding, “I have a human love for you.” [“philos”] This needs to be closely observed in the Greek text here.

All the "friends" had this glow about their heads; but then there was that one without a glow.


In verse 12 Jesus said, “that you love one another as I have loved you,” where “agape” was used twice: “agapate” and “ēgapēsa.” To link those uses to verse 13, Jesus said, “in the widest sense this love nothing has,” using “agapēn.” When Jesus then said “the soul of self should establish,” that says only “the soul” can know “this love,” because those who say “I love God” and are not married to Yahweh’s Spirit are “nothing” more than “friends” of Yahweh: “philōn.” The reason one is a “friend” of God and not the “love of God” is all related to “the self,” where one married to Yahweh “establishes” his or her “soul” as Yahweh’s, when one not married stays “of self” centered, thus just on “friendly” terms with God and Jesus.


Seeing that in verse 13, verse 14 then says [NRSV]: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Because these standard translation version do not recognize the divinity of Scripture and the rules of language it incorporates, the capitalization of “You” [from “Hymeis”] does nothing to tell the reader to assess that word for divine meaning.


The divine elevation of the second person plural personal pronoun becomes a statement that recognizes those disciples Jesus was speaking to as those chosen by God to have their souls marry Yahweh’s Spirit. Thus, “You” means all would know the “agape” of God. That is then how “este” [translated as “are”] is a statement of “being” that has been divinely elevated, as “souls established” for Yahweh.


When Jesus said, “friends of me” [from “philoi mou”], this then becomes a statement that Jesus would be resurrected in the flesh of each disciple, having been merged with each of their souls. This “love of God” [“agape”] would make each disciple’s name become in the name of Jesus, so all would be “brothers” in that way. Jesus saying “of me” means they would be “in the name of Jesus,” so all would be sharing the “friendship” of brotherhood.


When verse 14 then adds the conditional term “if” [“ean”], that existence as brothers in “friendship” would be “if you do as I command you.” In that, the word “egō” must be heard as Yahweh speaking, such that all commands made to a “soul” married to Yahweh come from Him. Thus, the “if” condition is marriage to Yahweh, so Jesus can be reborn in a “friendly” way in each disciple, so Jesus will lead them to do as the Father commands.


Verse 15 then says, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” Here, the aspect of “servants” [from “doulous”] is a statement of slavery.


All Jews who did not know what Scripture meant were “slaves” to Judaism, just as all Christians who do not know what Scripture means are “slaves” to words written in a holy book. They were “slaves” to the “masters” that were their rabbis, the lawyers and scribes, just like today those titles include priests, ministers, pastors, bishops and popes. For a master to tell the “slaves,” “Love one another because Jesus was love,” without letting the “slaves” know how and why to do that, the “servants” never progress to the state of being who is Jesus reborn.


When one’s soul has married Yahweh and one’s soul has become “brothers” with Jesus, then every command coming from Yahweh is fully explained by Jesus, through the Christ Mind – given to each of Yahweh’s ‘wives.’ This means when Jesus has become one’s “friend” through marriage, then all will be Sons of God, able to call Yahweh the Father.


This realization leads one to then read verse 16 as: “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” This connects all of these verses read today, from John 15, to those verses read last Sunday, which were directly relative to the vine made of truth and the branches that would bear fruit. Where this says, “You did not choose me but I chose you,” that is actually two separate segments of words that literally state, “not you me chose , however I chose you .


While this can appear to be Jesus telling the disciples that he was their master and they were his students, but he chose them from a larger pool of registrants, the truth says it is impossible for one to chose to be Jesus’ brother or friend within. Instead, that decision relative to who becomes resurrections of Jesus is up to Yahweh. Here, again, the use of “egō” must be heard as Yahweh speaking. This means that Yahweh chooses who He proposes marriage to and those so joined Spiritually will then become His Son reborn.


The NRSV that translates “And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” is missing the marks necessary to denote the importance of what is said. The Greek text is actually this: “kai ethēkahymas hina hymeis hypagēte kai karpon pherēte , kai ho karpos hymōnmenē ;”. In that are three important statements that are all relative to having been chosen by Yahweh.

  1. established you in order that you should bring under

  2. fruit you should bring forth

  3. that fruit of you should remain

Following the first “kai” is the root word that was previously translated as “lay down” – “tithémi” as “ethēka.” Thus, the first important step is a statement that to be reborn as Jesus means one has likewise become one with the Spirit of Yahweh. When the soul of Jesus has been “established [in] you,” then “you” - as self-ego, self-will, or self-importance - “should be brought under” the control of Jesus. This becomes the importance of understanding what “lay down one’s life” truly means.


The second important statement that is relative to that submission of self and the elevation as Jesus reborn says that has nothing to do with what your soul wants in this incarnation on earth. Because it is “not you” choosing to be Jesus, but Yahweh choosing you to serve Him as His Son, the important reason is to do what Jesus did, which was find disciples to be reborn as Jesus.


Here, the Greek word “karpon” means “fruit,” but that is metaphor for human beings; not a command to have physical children. To be reborn as Jesus means to “bring forth” “deeds, actions, results, profits, gains,” which are all valid ways to read “fruit.” This makes the parable of the talents [or minas] have greater impact, as Yahweh does not marry the prettiest girl in the high school to flaunt her and set her up on a pedestal, expecting her to do nothing but look marvelous. Remember this reading is when the Acts of the Apostles is mandatory reading. Yahweh expects works to be the measure of "fruit."


Finally, the third important element of this choosing by Yahweh is longevity. Once chosen there is no divorce. To “remain” means to enjoy eternal life, so a soul is freed from the imprisonment of temporal ‘life’ in a mortal body of flesh.


The last segment of verse 16 has been translated as stating, “so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” This translation is fairly close to accurate, enough to see the intent clearly. However, the aspect of “in my name” must be seen as being relative to having married one’s soul to Yahweh’s Spirit and having become reborn as Jesus, which is the truth of “in my name.”


This means Yahweh is warning fools to stay away from running around throwing the name of Jesus around freely, when one’s soul is still a swinging single and has no knowledge of Jesus being resurrected within one’s soul. Those fakers will not have Yahweh hear their requests, demands, or suggestions; so, let’s hope He does not condemn those as slanderers.


The last verse in this reading then says, “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” Here, the word “agapate” is used, which returns one to the aspect that this “love” is “of God.” Everything written prior [including the “vine made of truth” and the “branches that bear fruit”] is relative to this aspect of receiving “God’s love” in marriage. The statement that says “love one another” is less about some Beatles’ fairy tale, as such a concept is impossible through human emotions.


This sharing of “God’s love” is the truth of Christianity, where all the original members were Saints, each filled with “God’s love” and each reborn in the name of Jesus. That “church” was given the name it received because all were “Christs,” or Yahweh's “Anointed ones.” The whole purpose of Christianity is to bear fruit, which is not to find paying members, but to transform souls so they will gladly merge themselves with Yahweh’s Spirit and be resurrected as Jesus, another Christ. Anything short of that is just a social club, or worst: a socialist evil with an agenda to destroy Christianity by letting the wolves have control over the sheep.


As a Gospel selection for the sixth Sunday of Easter, it is important to see how these words of Jesus [through John] are telling us how to prepare for ministry. One’s soul has to be married to Yahweh. One’s soul has to know the “love of God.” One’s soul must become brothers of Jesus, each as another Anointed one of God. One has to submit oneself [“lay down one’s soul of self”] to the Will of Yahweh, so one does as commanded. One has to realize compliance to law is a sign of being single Spiritually. One must be married so one can practice understanding Scripture, so others can be told what Scripture means. That truth must be what leads others to offer Yahweh their souls.