Bible Reading: John 15:9-17
Facebook has given a whole new meaning to friendship, when we can befriend or unfriend someone within seconds, but true friendship goes far deeper than this. In my own experience I have thousands of acquaintances, but a few deep and treasured friendships. The writer of Proverbs sums up the meaning of true friendship in the following verses:
Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times” [NKJV]; “A friend is always loyal” [NLT].
Proverbs 18:24 – “a real friend sticks closer than a brother” [NLT]; “a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother” [Amp. Bible]
Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” [NKJV]
Proverbs 27:9 – “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense” [NLT]
In summary, God’s Word says that a true friend is loyal, reliable, honest, counsels wisely and is a delight. In our text today Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants; but I have called you friends” [John 15:15]. Friendship is always a two-way thing, and in both parties these characteristics of loyalty, reliability, honesty, wise counsel and delight apply.
Abraham was called the friend of God because of his close relations with God and his faithfulness to Him [2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23], but now Jesus calls all those who are His disciples, and who abide in Him, His friends. They are loyal, reliable, faithful, honest and delight in Him. They abide in His love, love one another, and seek to honour and obey Him [John 15:9-13].
As King of Kings you might expect Jesus to regard us as His servants, but instead He calls us His friends. Servants do what they are told. They do not necessarily know the reason why their master wants something done – they just do it. But Jesus, treating us as His friends, reveals to us His purposes, and His Father’s plans. This is what He created us for – for fellowship, closeness, friendship and intimacy. He created us to walk with Him, delight in Him and enjoy Him. “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel” [Psalm 103:7]. It is one thing to see the acts of God, but to His friends He shows them His ways. In conclusion, the word friends that Jesus used, [v.15] in both Greek and Aramaic [the daily language of Jesus] is very intimate and actually means “those cared for from the womb.” That’s how much Jesus treasures us as His friends!
We sometimes sing an old hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” What does friendship with Jesus really mean to you?
Because Jesus calls us friends He delights to reveal to us the deep things of God. How is this seen in the prayers of Paul in Ephesians 1:15-23 & 3:14-21?
What is your response to Jesus calling you His friend? How should that be life changing?