The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 15:12-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 24, 2011

12. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

He had just said that the observance of His commandments is a necessary condition to be fulfilled by those who would retain His love, and now He goes on to point to one commandment that in a special manner is His, the “new commandment (Jn 13:34), to which they must attend.

13. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

In this verse He explains what sort is that love of His upon which theirs must be
modelled (comp. 1 John 3:16). The meaning is, that no greater proof of love for a
friend can be given than to lay down one s life for him. This He was about to do for them. The comparison is not between dying for a friend and dying for an enemy, but between the different proofs of love for a friend.

14. You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.

Here He shows that in speaking of laying down His life for His friends, He means
laying it down for the Apostles.

15. I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.

He has referred to them as friends, and will do so in future. Formerly, indeed, He
had referred to them as His servants (John 12:26, 13:16), but now after He has
taken them so fully into His confidence, told them of His speedy departure from them (Jn 13:33), pointed out to them His consubstantiality with the Father (Jn 14:7-11), and instructed them that the Holy Ghost was to come to them (Jn 14:16, 17), He will no longer speak of them as servants, but as friends.

All things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.
That is to say, all the knowledge which was communicated to Him, together with His Divine nature, in His eternal generation by the Father; all this, as far as they were capable (John 16:12), and it was useful for them, He had communicated to them.

16. You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you. Or more exactly; “it was not you that chose Me, but I chose you,” where the aorist refers back to the definite act of selecting and calling the Apostles. Not only then was His love for them most intense, as was signified in verse 13, but it was also gratuitous , unmerited: and this is now pointed out. You did not choose Me as your friend, but I chose you as My special friends, My Apostles; and set you up as such, in order that, you should go into the whole world (Mark 16:15), and bear fruit in yourselves and others, and that this fruit should remain unto eternal life.

That (ινα) whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. Some as Maldonado, and Lapide take ινα here to denote a consequence: if you bring forth the fruit for which I have chosen you, it will come to pass that whatsoever, &c. Others think ινα may retain its usual telic force: I appointed you
in order that . . . your fruit should remain, and that whatsoever in reference to that fruit you shall ask, &c. On what is meant by asking the Father in Christ’s name, see above on Jn 14:13.

17. These things I command you, that you love one another. 

Some take the meaning to be: these things, namely, the greatness and gratuitousness of My love for you I insist upon, to the end that you may love one another. Others as Maldonado, and Patrizia take the meaning to be the same as in verse 11: this is what I command you, namely, that you love one an other. The use of ταυτα (haec) and not τουτο (hoc) is rather against the latter view, but it is
replied that the plural demonstrative followed by the single precept is intended to signify that charity is the fulfilment of the whole law.

3 Responses to “Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 15:12-17”

  1. […] Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:12-17). […]

  2. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:12-17). […]

  3. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:12-17). […]

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