16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Friendship with Jesus does not imply equal footing with Him. Jesus’ disciples did not choose Him but He them.
16 You [emphatic] did not choose Me,
Jesus chose each person of the apostles to bear fruit. Their friendship with Jesus did not originate with them. The apostles did not earn the right to follow Jesus; He gave them that right from the grace of His choosing them.
but [strong contrast] I [emphatic] chose you and appointed you [the apostles]
Not only did Jesus choose the apostles but He “appointed” them to their task or office on earth. Jesus commissioned the apostles for the new economy that was about to begin. It was not their choice (Jn 15:19). It was common for disciples to choose their teacher. The initiative of friendship with Jesus occasioned completely with Him. It was one sided.
“Chose you” is not theological here but simply the choosing of the apostles to carry Jesus’ message to the new economy after He went back to heaven. He chose them to bear “fruit” in the coming new age.
that you should go and bear fruit,
The purpose of Jesus’ choosing His apostles was that they would bear fruit. Bearing fruit in this context involves conveying His message and its implications. The people in the upper room needed the apostolate to go and bear fruit. They required the authority to do this. Much of it would be to write the New Testament.
and that your fruit should remain,
Jesus was not interested in superficial fruit but fruit that would last. Whatever success the apostles may have in ministry by their fruit, it would come by answered prayer. It was important that the apostles did not produce superficial fruit but fruit that would last. They would not be productive if they moved into a listlessness about prayer.
that whatever you ask the Father in My name
The apostles were not left alone to convey the message of Jesus to the world. They could ask the Father in Jesus’ name for resources to do the task. “Whatever” is thorough; nothing would be held back if asked “in My name” (Jn 14:13).
He may give you.
The “He” here is the Father who answers prayer. The outcome of the ministry of the apostles did not rest on their efforts only; it reposed on God ultimately. It was imperative that they call upon God for their ministries.
The outcome of their ministries was in God’s hands—“He may give you.” They received results following their prayer/s not because of the worth of the petitioner but through their relation to Jesus.
Jesus takes the initiative with all fruit bearing.
We did not choose Jesus but He us. The followers of Christ did not earn the right to be His disciples. That was an initiative of Jesus Himself. We did not choose Him; He chose us.
The ground of Jesus’ love does not reside in the believer. It originated entirely with Him. He loved us in an independent and spontaneous sense (1 Jn 4:10, 19). It was out of that love that Jesus appoints us to service.