This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:12-17

Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. Romans 16:11-16

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

In today’s first Scripture passage we see that Jesus was quite adamant about the kind of bond that should exist among his followers. He begins with “This is My commandment, that you love one another” and ends with “This I command you, that you love one another.” The bond of love is to be the hallmark of those who profess to be followers of Christ. Jesus then says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” The bond of love between believers is to be a bond of sacrifice. Sacrifice is the true test of love. Jesus then connects this all back to himself. We would never have the kind of relationships with each other that Jesus expects if it were not for the relationship we have with him. 

Right after Jesus speaks of one laying down his life for his friends, he says, “You are My friends.” Jesus is saying that he loves us so much that he laid his life down for us. He is saying that his sacrificial love for us makes us his friends and that we will prove that we really do have this kind of relationship with him by our having this kind of relationship with each other. Being bound together with fellow believers in the bond of love and sacrifice is what we have been called to in Christ. This is what “Koinonia” is all about. 

Jesus says that he chose us and appointed us to go and bear fruit. When believers in Christ have a close, deep, and abiding relationship with Christ as his friends, they are in the sphere of “Koinonia” with him. No longer as slaves but as the friends of Christ, we will know “Koinonia” with each other. Surely, the bond of sacrificial love will be our hallmark. Our second passage is another window into the “Koinonia” of the early church. The words love and sacrifice do not occur and yet we are impressed with the amazing bond that existed between them that was far beyond anything they had ever known before. Read the passage again and imagine the sacrificial love they shared as followers of Jesus Christ.

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, I know you are continuing to build your church. Surely, sacrificial love is the mortar that holds it all together. Thank you for your sacrificial love for me. Thank you for helping me to be close to you. Deepen my relationship with you and help me to abide in you more fully. May the fruit of sacrificial love come from my life and be fully available to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen!