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

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 15:12-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2011

John 15:12  This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you
John 15:13  Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

All things good then have their reward, when they arrive at their proper end, but if they be cut off midway, shipwreck ensues. And as a vessel of immense burden, if it reach not the harbor in time, but founder in the midst of the sea, gains nothing from the length of the voyage, but even makes the calamity greater, in proportion as it has endured more toils; so are those souls which fall back when near the end of their labors, and faint in the midst of the struggle. Wherefore Paul said, that glory, and honor, and peace, should meet those who ran their course with patient continuance in well-doing. A thing which Christ now effecteth in the case of the disciples. (Rom 2:7). For since He had accepted them, and they rejoiced in Him, and then the sudden coming of the Passion and His sad words were likely to cut short their pleasure after having conversed with them sufficiently to soothe them, He addeth, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be fulfilled”; that is, “that ye might not be separated from Me that ye might not cut short your course. Ye were rejoicing in Me, and ye were rejoicing exceedingly, but despondency hath fallen upon you. This then. I remove, that joy may come at the last, showing that your present circumstances are fit cause, not for pain, but for pleasure. I saw you offended; I despised you not; I said not, ‘Why do ye not continue noble?’ But I spake to you words which brought comfort with them. And so I wish ever to keep you in the same love. Ye have heard concerning a kingdom, ye rejoiced. In order therefore that your joy might be fulfilled, I have spoken these things unto you.” But“this is the commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Seest thou that the love of God is intertwined with Our own, and connected like a sort of chain? Wherefore it sometimes saith that there are two commandments, sometimes only one. For it is not possible that the man who hath taken hold on the first should not possess the second also. For at one time He said, “On this the Law and the Prophets hang” (Mt 22:40); and at another, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is theLaw and the Prophets.” (Mt 7:12). And, “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom 13:10). Which He saith also here; for if to abide proceeds from love, and love from the keeping of the commandments, and the commandment is that we love one another, then the abiding in God proceeds from love towards each other. And He doth not simply speak of love, but declareth also the manner, “As I have loved you.” Again He showeth, that His very departure was not of hatred but of love. “So that I ought rather to be admired on this account, for I lay down My life for you.” Yet nowhere doth He say this in these words, but in a former place, by sketching the best shepherd, and here by exhorting them, and by showing the greatness of His love, and Himself, who He is. But wherefore doth He everywhere exalt love? Because this is the mark of the disciples, this the bond of virtue. On this account Paul saith such great things of it, as being a genuine disciple of Christ, and having had experience of it.

John 15:14-15. “Ye are My friends—henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. Ye are My friends, for all things which I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.”

How then saith He, “I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now”? (Jn 16:12). By the “all” and the “hearing” He showeth nothing else, but that He uttered nothing alien, but only what was of the Father. And since to. speak of secrets appears to be the strongest proof of friendship, “ye have,” He saith, “been deemed worthy even of this communion.” When however He saith “all,” He meaneth, “whatever things it was fit that they should hear.” Then He putteth also another sure proof of friendship, no common one. Of what sort was that?

John 15:16. “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have: chosen you.”

That is, I ran upon your friendship. And He stayed not here, but,  “I set you,” He saith, (that is, “I planted you,”) “that ye should go,” (He still useth the metaphor of the vine,) that is, “that ye should extend yourselves”; “and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

“Now if your fruit remain, much more shall ye. For I have not only loved you,” He saith, “but have done you the greatest benefits, by extending your branches through all the world.” Seest thou in how many ways He showeth His love? By telling them things secret, by having in the first instance run to meet their friendship. by granting them the greatest blessings, by suffering for them what then He suffered. After this, He showeth that He also remaineth continually with those who shall bring forth fruit; for it is needful to enjoy His aid, and so to bear fruit.

“That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.”

Yet it is the part of the person asked to do the thing asked; but if the Father is asked, how is it that the Son doeth it? It is that thou mayest learn that the Son is not inferior to the Father.

John 15:17. “These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

That is, “It is not to upbraid, that I tell you that I lay down My life for you, or that I ran to meet you, but in order to lead you into friendship.” Then, since the being persecuted and insulted by the many, was a grievous and intolerable thing, and enough to humble even a lofty soul, therefore, after having said ten thousand things first, Christ entered upon this matter. Having first smoothed their minds, He thus proceedeth to these points, showing that these things too were for their exceeding advantage,as He had also shown that the others were. For as He had told them that they ought not to grieve, but rather to rejoice, “because I go to the Father,” (since He did this not as deserting but as greatly loving them,) so here also He showeth that they ought to rejoice, not grieve. And observe how He effecteth this. He said not, “I know that the action is grievous, but bear for My sake, since for My sake also ye suffer,” for this reason was not yet sufficient to console them; wherefore letting this pass, He putteth forward another. And what is that? It is that this thing would be a sure proof of their former virtue. “And, on the contrary, ye ought to grieve, not because ye are hated now but if ye were likely to be loved”; for this He implieth by saying,

John 15:19. “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own.”

(So that had ye been loved it would be very clear that ye had shown forth signs of wickedness. Then, when by saying this first, He did not effect his purpose, He goeth on again with the discourse.

3 Responses to “St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 15:12-19”

  1. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 16:12-15). […]

  2. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:12-17). On vv. 12-19. […]

  3. […] St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:12-17). On vv. 12-19. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: