"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you."
Note: So it's been about two months since the last installment in my "journey" through the Gospel of John, but I'm getting back on track now.
There's a whole lot packed into these three little sentences that Jesus speaks to His apostles at the Last Supper. Jesus makes the astounding promise that we can be His friends -- we can be the friends of God. But, it seems, there's a condition. We must do what Jesus commands us. And Jesus commands us to love each other, and to love each other as He has loved us. That's a tall order, to say the least, because -- as Jesus here suggests and will prove the following afternoon -- He loves us enough to die for us.
That is the kind of radical love that Jesus calls us to have for each other, and I don't know anyone who could live up to such a standard by their own power. Luckily, no one has to -- indeed, it is only by the grace of God that any of us can do anything. And Jesus continually offers us the grace we need to fulfill His commandments and become His friends. Our job is to cooperate with that grace.