Grace and Friendship

Notes for May 20, 2018
John 15:12-17

Biblical Background

  • Greek and Roman Stories: Greek and Roman literature viewed the act of dying for one’s friend as heroic and was the greatest act of friendship. An example is story in which Pythias offered to be killed in place of his friend Damon, or the story in which Achilles goes into battle to avenge the death of his best friend Patroclus. These heroic friendship stories would have been known by many within the Hellenistic Jewish community.

  • Friendship in Roman times: The Greeks and Romans valued friendship and emphasized an equality of standing and ability to share intimately with others. Loyalty was the primary attribute of friendship in this culture. Servants were not considered on the same level as a friend.

  • Friends of God: In the Old Testament, Abraham and Moses were called, “friends of God,” attesting to their intimate relationship with God.

  • Jewish rabbis didn’t choose their disciples – Jesus did: In 1st century Judaism, disciples would choose the rabbi that they wanted to follow. In Jesus’ case, however, he chose his disciples – he took the initiative.

  • Chosen by God: Judaism emphasized the idea that the Jewish people were the “chosen people,” those chosen by God to represent God to the world.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is Jesus’ commandment to his disciples?

  2. How did Jesus love his disciples? Give examples

  3. What can we learn from Jesus’ love for his disciples?

  4. What is the greatest example of love? How did Jesus model this for us?

  5. How can you and I lay down our lives for our friends on a daily basis?

  6. What are the implications for us if we do not obey the commands of Jesus?

  7. What does a friend of Jesus look like?

  8. What does it mean to you to be a friend of Jesus? How does this affect your everyday life?

  9. How does it make you feel to know that Jesus chose you rather than the other way around?

  10. What does Jesus expect you to do now that He has chosen you?

  11. What does it mean to bear fruit?

  12. What does it mean to abide in Jesus? What does this look like practically speaking on a daily basis?

  13. How are we to be equipped to live lives that are in obedience to Jesus and to bear fruit?

  14. Why would Jesus tell us to ask the Father for things? How did Jesus model this?

  15. Share examples in which you have seen people lay down their lives for others as Christ commanded.