Who Chose Who?

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This my command:  Love each other.  John 15: 16, 17.

This passage took me years to get a handle on for the simple reason I have lots of preconceptions in the way.

The biggest barrier to understanding Scripture, I believe, is traditional views which are affected by modern sensibilities.  We know social justice was a theme of Christ’s message, for example, but in our modern context we seem to see His teachings as boiling down to that theme alone.  While Jesus condemned injustice and worked through His miracles to right wrongs, correct misunderstandings and debunk false traditions based on bad interpretations of Scripture, He never actually changed the sociopolitical structure of His day.  Yet I think He sums up His attitude perfectly in His rebuke to the priests, Pharisees and lawyers,  “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.  You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.”

What gets in the way of my grasp of this phrase “You did not choose me, but chose you…” is the lack of choice I have in the matter.  My era preached social justice and individual freedom from every soapbox imaginable, to the point that the commercial world used such principles in their advertisements to lure buyers.  I can’t stand squashing individuality at all because it would mean others as well as my own idiosyncrasies would be destroyed.

Jesus really doesn’t care about my preference at all for His goal is to reveal the truth not play to my bias.  So, just in case the disciples were getting cocky about their “choice” to follow Him, He set the record straight.  He chose them for a set purpose, to demonstrate the very kingdom He came to the world to proclaim.  How many times in His talk has He told them to love each other?  Several, with more to come.  What else can He mean by this except to make the point that if we don’t demonstrate this kind of love, we cannot be His disciples, though we might claim the name.  The promise of receiving from the Father is tied inextricably to the love we have for one another.

Nothing is more important since nothing else is quite as unique as love.  Doctrinal differences are many times merely semantic rationales for our preferences, characteristics of the gods we hold as sacred and generally based on our own fears.  Love matching the character and methods of Jesus, however, goes outside the box of human practice to a place where it means we will rebuke someone we care about for their good,  we will be humble about our own sin as well as upfront about it, and to give ourselves to the benefit of all who grow in the grace of Christ.

By inference Jesus tells us what the root of our fruit will be:  Love for one another.  If we truly serve and love God, the fruit will be evident in our relationships to other people.  No one will need to wonder whether or not we are followers of Jesus because the facts will speak for themselves.  This is why doctrine alone cannot prove of our sincerity.  I can hold many opinions that I don’t live up to nor actively practice, which makes them useless.  But living out the love of God in my life for His family here on earth is about as different as it comes.

Okay, here’s another observation I should make as well:  The fruit the disciples produced did last for we are the results of their labors.  Their love for one another, sense of family and dedication to the common cause of Christ turned their world and ours right side up (I almost said upside down but since all of humanity is upside down already due to sin, I rephrased it).  Their work produced eternal results for every person saved is the fruit of their labors—and deaths, if you think about it.  We are the fruit of their connection to Jesus; we are the jewels in their crowns; we bring an everlasting joy to Jesus’ heart by submitting to His call on our lives.

You’ve heard of pyramid schemes?  This is one which doesn’t use others for profit nor barter friendship for money but gives wholeheartedly to bless others.  It starts at the top, with Jesus, and spreads out eternally for the joy of all involved.

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One Response to “Who Chose Who?”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    What a privilege and responsibility to be chosen.

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