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.
The word “gospel” comes from two old English words meaning “God’s story”. The Gospel is just that, the grand story of what God is doing in heaven and on earth. In today’s text Jesus summons all his followers to be part of this story of redemption. Because Jesus has made us friends, He calls us to be partners in building His kingdom.
Note how Jesus places emphasis on His taking the initiative to choose us. In the culture of Jesus’ day, it was customary for a disciple to seek out his teacher and choose him. But Jesus wants His disciples to know that they did not seek or choose Him. He sought them and made them His choice. He called and appointed them to share His work of bringing the world close to the Father’s heart.
This resonates with all who long to make a difference in the world as well as leave something lasting. Jesus says that He chose us and sent us to bear “fruit that will last”. This fruit is not ours to produce, but grows out of our oneness with Jesus the vine. Asking the Father in Jesus’ name is essential for fruit-bearing to occur. Prayer and fruitful lives go together.
Bible scholar William Barclay aptly describes the mission on which Jesus sends his friends:
Jesus sends us out, not to argue men into Christianity, still less to threaten them into it, but to attract them to it; so to live that its fruit may be so wonderful that others will desire them for themselves.
As we daily spend time with Jesus, and pray in His name, we will bear lasting fruit in the lives of those we touch. Jesus loves us, has chosen us, and equipped us for significant roles in His grand story of heaven and earth.
What are there in Jesus’ words today to know; to feel; to do?