15:13 No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life 1 for his friends. 15:14 You are my friends 2 if you do what I command you. 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, 3 because the slave does not understand 4 what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything 5 I heard 6 from my Father.
1 tn Or “one dies willingly.”
2 sn This verse really explains John 15:10 in another way. Those who keep Jesus’ commandments are called his friends, those friends for whom he lays down his life (v. 13). It is possible to understand this verse as referring to a smaller group within Christianity as a whole, perhaps only the apostles who were present when Jesus spoke these words. Some have supported this by comparing it to the small group of associates and advisers to the Roman Emperor who were called “Friends of the Emperor.” Others would see these words as addressed only to those Christians who as disciples were obedient to Jesus. In either case the result would be to create a sort of “inner circle” of Christians who are more privileged than mere “believers” or average Christians. In context, it seems clear that Jesus’ words must be addressed to all true Christians, not just some narrower category of believers, because Jesus’ sacrificial death, which is his act of love toward his friends (v. 13) applies to all Christians equally (cf. John 13:1).
4 tn Or “does not know.”
5 tn Grk “all things.”
6 tn Or “learned.”