John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Jesus’ call to obey His commandment (s) (there are, I believe, two commandments in view when John uses the plural “commandments”, 1) to receive Jesus as the Son and Revealer of God, and 2) to love as He has loved us. I think a strong case can be made that these two commandments are the Johnannine version of the two Great Commandments upon which all commands depend)…So, where was I? Right: Jesus’ call to obey His commandments comes in the context of His call that we abide in Him and His words abide in us (this being, I believe, synonymous with us abiding in His love, v.9). It is only by abiding in Christ–that is, by receiving Him as He declares Himself to us in His words and works–that we will bear the fruit of obedience to His commands, namely, Christ-like love. And this intimate, Spirit-enabled receiving of the Son (which is to receive the Father in the Son) such that God-revealing, Christ-like, self-giving love is born in us–this is the heart of life itself.
So, in today’s picture I tried to show at least two things: First that our love only comes from God’s love in Christ (thus all the branches streaming from the wound). Secondly, that our love is an imaging of God’s love in Christ (thus the fruit borne by cruciform saints).