“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
(John 15: 15)
Last week I was walking with a dear friend, on our weekly walk together, and we were discussing friendship in general and in particular our own friendship which had developed over the years into a comfortable relationship in which we could say anything that comes to mind, without having to choose our words carefully or censor any challenging thoughts that might upset the other. These sorts of friendships are so refreshing as they allow us to be totally ourselves.
It is so surprising to read Jesus’ words offering us that same intimate relationship with him, as he tells his disciples and us as well, that he does not see us as servants, but as friends. When Jesus calls us his friends, we enter the most rewarding relationship known to mankind. God opens up this relationship when he calls Abraham his friend.
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, who I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend.” (Isaiah 41: 8)
The book of Proverbs has many verses about friends, but makes it clear there is a big difference between acquaintances and true friends and makes it clear that friends love one anther at all times, the good and the bad and even stick close when others, even relatives, might abandon, friends need to become forever friends.
“A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18: 24)
Jesus is offering to be the perfect friend for us, he will love us at all times, he will never forsake us, but will stick with us whatever happens. He does challenge us when we experience this loving relationship he is offering, and the challenge is to be a loving friend just as he is.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12)
Friends are forever because they are: Forgiving
Friends are genuine because they are: Real
Friends are uplifting because they are: Inspiring
Friends are supporting because they are: Encouraging
Friends are open minded because they are: Non- judgemental
Friends are life savers because they are: Dependable
When I read my friend’s words I caught a glimpse of what Jesus was promising when he graciously offers us friendship. These words become a living reality when applied to him. For us to aspire to these beautiful qualities our daily walking companion needs to be the Lord Jesus Christ himself.