In John’s Gospel today there is a line that, though I have heard it and read it many times in my life, spoke to me. Jesus is speaking to his disciples telling them how he loves them just as his Father loves him and then gifting us with the commandment that will ensure that we will remain in his Father’s love. He tells us, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Simple, powerful, yet so difficult to attain because it calls us to love all of God’s people and that can be challenging.
But that is not the verse that caught my attention. It was this: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, to go and bear fruit that will remain so that whatever you ask of my Father in my name he may give you.” John 15.16
Yes! God chose us, each one. We may think that we have a relationship with Jesus because we made the decision to believe in him, whether on our own or by family who passed on the faith. Yet in this Gospel, Jesus tells us we did notchoose him, rather, he chose us. He chose us to be his own. Why? Because that was the plan set forth by his Father, that all who came to know him, would also know the Father and would be with the Father just as he is. God had a plan. By it and through his Son we are saved, we are loved unconditionally, we are forgiven, we are gifted eternal life.
Think about that – Jesus chose us at his Father’s direction. God desires that we share eternal life with him, and he desires our presence with him so strongly that he provided the way.
“Believe in my Son, love one another, go forth to bear fruit that will remain.”
In other words, teach others to love as Jesus taught love and use your God-given gifts to build the Kingdom of God here and now. We bear fruit by loving others. We bear fruit when we gather to pray as a community of believers, we bear fruit by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, so that one day we might all attain eternal life.
Dear Jesus, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for believing that I can learn to love your people, that I can offer hope in a world that is hurting. Gift me with your Holy Spirit that I might remain strong and committed to doing your work on this earth. Be with all your people who are in the process of learning to love as you love. In your name, trusting that you hear me, I pray. Amen.
Have a blessed week,