Suggested Reading: John 15:1-17
No longer do I call you servants –John 15:15
It takes a lot, not just to be a friend, but to be a good, great, or wonderful friend. Not everyone is friendship material. Some people are better kept at arm’s length or as acquaintances. While other are jewels in the friendship category.
Friends are people you can talk to about anything that’s on your heart or mind and a really good friend is someone whom you may also feel very comfortable sharing personal business or private matters with. You can tell a good friend things you wouldn’t tell anyone else and know it won’t be judged or go any farther.
Jesus says his disciples, those who believe, follow and enjoy an intimate, personal relationship with him, are no longer servants only, but friends. Not just those who serve him in kingdom work or for his purposes, but his friends and confidants.
Servants serve. And if you have occasion to employ a personal servant or aid, they will know a lot about you, but that does not mean they know all your personal business, your goals and ambitions, your secrets, or fears. That kind of information is reserved for those closest to you.
We know Jesus is our friend. The Scriptures says he’s the kind of friend that sticks closer to us than a blood relative (Proverbs 18:24). And many of us have sung “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.” He is the kind of friend we can call upon at any hour, in the midnight hour, and he will show up. The kind of friend we can confess our secret sins to and will not be judged. The kind of friend that will walk more than a mile with us but go the distance without complaint. The kind of friend that anticipates what we may need without us having to verbalize it. The kind of friend that knows just the right thing to say to us and will never say he’s too busy to listen or be with us. Jesus is a perfect friend to have and never disappoints us in the friendship or any other area.
As good and perfect a friend we know Jesus to be, he says something which might surprise or even shock us here. He tells us how he considers us to be his friend. Remember when the Pharisees chided Jesus for befriending sinners in Luke 19? As mind-boggling as it is to grasp, Christ chooses us. He says we are no longer servants but friends and tells us the things reserved for friends. He will share the Father’s business with us. Whatever he has learned from the Father he is going to share with us
Jesus describes his friends as:
Those who are part of the vine (vs4)
Those who live a productive fruit-bearing life (vs4,5)
Those who keep his commands (vs10)
Those who remain in his love (vs9)
Those who abide in him (vs5-7)
Those who have been through the pruning process; willing to be disciplined (vs 2)
Those who love others (vs12)
And those who show themselves to be self-sacrificing for others, for their friends in particular (vs13)
Which includes being in friendship with Jesus. As his friend, at times Jesus will ask something from us that may require sacrifice. A good friend would not deny him what he is asking.
John cherished the friendship he shared with Christ. Like David, he was a man after God’s own heart, understood friendship of the Lord was for those who feared him and he makes known to them his covenant (Ps 25:14), and often laid his head upon Jesus’s chest to be close to him. Friendship with Jesus was not a lofty, unattainable goal or heart’s desire for John, but an achievable desired relationship that he enjoyed and was blessed through. Certainly John’s loyalty and love must have blessed Christ also.
What we may love and be gladdened about most is realizing that all the time we are thinking we have chosen Jesus for friendship, Jesus has actually chosen us. Let’s Pray,
Jesus, what a wonderful thing to read and learn; that you are not only our friend but that you consider us to be your friend also! This is both honoring and humbling! Help us to live up to all you have shown and laid out for us so we can be those you call friends. Even when we fail and fall short, thank you for your grace and mercy and the help of the Holy Spirit who comes up beside us so we can live in this manner. We look forward to continuing the friendship you began when you came to earth and now sustain from heaven. In your name we pray. Amen
Courageous Living: How does knowing Jesus considers you a friend to him encourage you to live in a way that meets his outline for friendship?