12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. John 15:12-17, NRSV
Chapter 15 of the Book of John has three main teachings, all are about relationships. The first part, John 15:1-11, Jesus teaches his disciples about the relationship they must have with Him. In this part of chapter 15, John 15:12-17, Jesus now explains to His disciples the type of relationship they must have with each other. At this point, “ . . . Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1, NRSV) That night during supper, Jesus models to His disciples what it means to be His friend. During this meal, He washes their feet, setting their relationship on a different level. In biblical times, the feet were dirty from walking on dirty dusty roads; so washing one’s feet was something that a servant did when guests arrived at someone’s home. But Jesus was setting the example for His disciples of what they must do to each other, become servants to each other. What is so striking about this whole scene is that Jesus also washes the feet of Judas Iscariot whom He knows will betray Him to the authorities. For Jesus this is what it means to love His own who were in the world, and to love them to the end. (John 13:1b) After Judas Iscariot leaves to betray Jesus, He gives the disciples the new commandment in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” After this meal which we call the Last Supper, Jesus says, “Rise, let us be on our way.” (John 14:31) Jesus is on His way to His betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Jesus repeats the new commandment from 13:34 in verse 12, that they love one another as Jesus has loved them. Jesus knows that He will model for the disciples what this love looks like when He says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for one’s friends.” Jesus knows that He is about to lay down His life for the disciples during His humiliating crucifixion death. So Jesus is comfortable telling the disciples again in verse 14, that the disciples are His friends if they do what He has commanded, to love each other as He has loved them. This is the kind of relationship they must have with each other. Jesus is still their Lord and Teacher, but now He is also their friend. They are friends because Jesus is sharing with them everything that He has heard from the Father and that He and the Father are one. (John 10:30, 14:15) In verse 16, Jesus reminds them again that they did not choose Him, but He chose them. (See John 13:18.) He chose them to bear fruit, fruit that will only last if they abide in Him. The Father will give the disciples whatever they ask in Jesus’ name only if they abide in Jesus and bear fruit or be a branch on the vine. (See John 15:1-11.) Jesus reminds the disciples again, “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
Jesus urged those who follow Him to love one another. By loving one another, the world will know that we are followers of Jesus and have a relationship with Him. We can show each other that we have a relationship with Jesus and that we love one another by following what God has asked of us from the beginning, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:36-39, NRSV)
 Revised Standard Version from Biblegateway.com