Make yourself at home in my love (John 15:9-17)

I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.

You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. “But remember the root command: Love one another.

John 15:9-17 The Message

Have you ever wondered what community is like for God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? It has been described as a party going on all the time with a perpetual flow of joy and love and mutual giving and receiving.

The theologians in the early church tried to describe this wonderful reality that we call Trinity. If any of you have ever been to a Greek wedding, you may have seen their distinctive way of dancing . . . It’s called perichoresis. There are not two dancers, but at least three. They start to go in circles, weaving in and out in this very beautiful pattern of motion. They start to go faster and faster and faster, all the while staying in perfect rhythm and in sync with each other. Eventually, they are dancing so quickly (yet so effortlessly) that as you look at them, it just becomes a blur. Their individual identities are part of a larger dance. The early church fathers and mothers looked at that dance (perichoresis) and said, ‘That’s what the Trinity is like.’ It’s a harmonious set of relationship in which there is mutual giving and receiving. This relationship is called love, and it’s what the Trinity is all about. The perichoresis is the dance of love.” –Jonathan Marlowe

Sounds like a great place to be–free of jealousy, striving, and all the aspects of self-centered thinking.

I love the image of home being associated with love. What does it mean to be at home in his love?

1. Home means you are loved and accepted.
2. Home is comfortable and familiar.
3. Home is a refuge.
4. Home is a place to know and be known.
5. Home is a safe place to rest and gain strength for the next day.
6. Home is a place where you are free to be you. You don’t have to pretend.

When Jesus says “Make yourself at home,” he is saying “whatever is mine is yours.” That’s awesome. But he also tells us to keep his commands just as he has kept his Father’s commands. Wait, I’m not very good at keeping rules. In fact, if you give me rules I will probably break them. But God’s commands are not burdensome because they are designed to bring us joy and peace, to keep us from getting tangled up in things that will destroy us. When we fall in love with Jesus and experience his life in us, obedience is a natural response. My friend, Jason Gray, says it is “more like falling in love than something to believe in.”

This interaction between Jesus and his disciples occurred during one of the last times they were together. They had just had supper and Judas had left early to betray Jesus. As the rest of them were walking along, Jesus had some important last words to say. He was facing death, yet he wanted to make sure they loved each other the way he loved them, and he wanted them to experience his kind of joy, a deep, abiding joy that is present even when you’re having the worst day ever. Do you need joy? Hang out with Jesus.

Do you often think of Jesus as a man of joy? Evidently not many people do. Just check out the drawings and paintings of Jesus. How many of them show him laughing?

He tells them to put their lives on the line for their friends. Have you ever had a friend do that for you? Have you ever done that for a friend? That’s real love, the kind of love “committed to the well-being of another–at any cost to yourself.” (Larry Crabb)

And then he called them friends! Not servants or ministry partners or board members, but friends with whom he had freely shared his heart and resources. They had been on a three-year journey together. Think about it–13 guys on a road trip, some of them probably teenagers. Funny things happen when a bunch of guys get together–funny sounds too. I guess Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John decided not to write about those things (what happens in Galilee stays in Galilee), but rest assured there was plenty of horse play and raucous laughter going on between them.

But now it was time to be serious. He wanted to make sure they got the most important message: yes, you have a responsibility to bear fruit and obey God, but whatever you do let it be done with love. Love each other–that’s the most important thing, and it shows how much you really love God.

As followers of Jesus today, we are his friends. How would our reading of scripture be different if we read it as if we (Jesus and you) were friends hanging out together? We wouldn’t read it out of duty or obligation, or rush to get it done so we can check it off our to-do list, but in order to deepen our relationship with Jesus, our closest friend.

If you got a four-page letter from a good friend, would you open the envelope and read only a few paragraphs on the first page, thinking you might read the rest later if you have time? No, you’d sit down and treasure every word. If it was a love letter, you would probably read it over and over again.

So my friends, let us grow more at home in his love, treasure his words in scripture, and find great joy in our reading and singing and worshiping together.

 

Copyright (c) 2016 Brenda Branson